Archive for the ‘teachers’ Category

Two Leftist Public School Teachers Killed, Another Survives Attack in Masbate

July 12, 2010

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Two more activists, this time teachers who were members of the leftist group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), were killed in just the first 10 days of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, bringing the number of extrajudicial killings under his watch to four.

Mark Francisco, 27, a teacher of San Isidro Elementary School in Palanan, Masbate province in Bicol, was on his way home with four co-teachers on Friday, July 9, at around 5:00 p.m when two men wearing masks and camouflaged uniforms fired at their group. His body was riddled with bullets from an M-16 rifle. Francisco’s co-teacher managed to escape as the killers tried to pursue him. He reported the incident to the police.

On the same day, Edgar Fernandez, 44, another public school teacher from Barangay central, Masbate City, Masbate, was shot dead by unidentified men on his way home.

“I least expected that this would happen because Edgar seemed to be very happy during the welcome program that we prepared for students that day,” Myrna Laurio said in a telephone interview with Bulatlat. She is the principal of Roco C. Pahis Sr. Central School where Fernandez taught.

Laurio said Fernandez sleeps in the school during weekdays because he lives far from the school. He only goes home on Fridays for the weekend. But on July 9, Fernandez and a co-teacher, both riding a motorcycle, were fired at by an unidentified man. Fernandez died immediately but his co-teacher survived with a bullet wound.

Laurio added that Fernandez’s co-teacher and friend told her recently that the slain teacher had received death threats through text messages. But Fernandez did not take it seriously.

“The whole school is in mourning,” Laurio said. She added that these unidentified gunmen seem to have no respect for the lives of the teachers who were probably educating their children.

Earlier, another ACT member and public school teacher Dexter Legazpi, 36, also of Palanan, Masbate was shot at on July 6. Luckily, he survived. He and his wife were on a motorcycle going to school when five men, also wearing ski masks and military uniforms, shot at them. Legazpi was able to speed away to safety on his motorcycle.

The three public school teachers are members of the Alliance for Concerned Teachers’ local chapter in Masbate. They actively campaigned for its party-list bid during the May 2010 elections. ACT Teachers Party and other progressive party-list groups such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Anakpawis, and Kabataan are targets of vilification campaigns by the military, which accuses them of being “front organizations” of the New People’s Army.

“We demand justice for our fellow teachers and party members,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said in a statement. He called on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the brutal murders of Francisco and Fernandez and the attempted murder on Legazpi to ensure that justice would be served. He added that the Department of Education should work with the Philippine National Police and local government authorities to ensure that protection would be given to the teachers who survived the attack and those who may serve as witnesses to the crime.

Benny Almanzor of ACT in Masbate said teachers in Palanas town in Masbate are afraid to go to school now. Classes were suspended in 16 schools in the said town because of the killings. “Teachers and barangay captains are going to the local government office to see what can be done to protect the teachers.”

As for teachers in Roco C. Pahis Sr. Central School, Laurio said they are taking extra precautions.

“The Aquino government must immediately take steps to put an end to the violence faced by teachers in Palanas town,” Tinio said, “The Aquino government’s ability to ensure the well-being and safety of its citizens is being put to the test.”

Tinio said these murders show that extrajudicial killings targeting activists continue even under the newly installed Aquino administration. “It has only been a few days, yet the death toll is already rising. We expect nothing less than an end to impunity from this new government.”

“President Aquino must direct the necessary government resources to ensuring that the perpetrators of these four murders are caught, tried and punished,” Tinio said.

The first victim of extrajudicial killing under Aquino was 61-year old Fernando Baldomero, municipal council and Bayan Muna member, who was shot in front of his son in Kalibo, Aklan. The second victim was 78-year old farmer Pascual Guevarra of Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon. Guevarra’s grandson Ronnel Villoria was also wounded when he tried to help his grandfather. (Bulatlat.com)

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NPA leader: Military behind daughter’s slay

March 9, 2009

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:55:00 03/09/2009

ka-parago

DAVAO CITY—If the killers of elementary teacher Rebelyn Pitao wanted to shatter her father, Commander Parago of the communist New People’s Army’s Pulang Bagani Command, they apparently failed.

Parago, whose real name is Leoncio Pitao, said the killing of his daughter might have devastated him but did not weaken his cause—the “revolution of the people who have been suffering from the hands of an oppressive government.”

Pitao granted selected journalists an interview in an upland village known to be an NPA stronghold in southern Mindanao on Sunday—three days after the body of his daughter was found in an irrigation ditch in Carmen town, Davao del Norte province.

Wearing a Mao cap and the NPA’s signature black shirt, Parago appeared calm but his eyes were somber. He exchanged jokes with NPA cadres.

The military has consistently denied involvement in Rebelyn’s abduction and killing.

“What they did to my daughter was painful but we must not stop. I am here not only as a father to her but a father to many other poor daughters and sons of the oppressed. Am I devastated? I am not. I am even inspired by her death to be relentless in fighting for the freedom of the poor,” Parago said.

He added: “I will not abandon the people because of this loss. Instead, I will continue the people’s revolution.”

His oldest son, Ryan, also an NPA cadre, said the death of his sister was unacceptable. But like his father, Ryan said, Rebelyn will now become their source of courage and strength to move forward.

“She is now our inspiration to broaden the democratic people’s revolution. My sister will now always be with all of us as we struggle against a bankrupt government,” said Ryan. He joined his father after surviving an attack of suspected government agents three years ago.

Parago said he had expected the military to target his family as government forces continuously failed to capture him. He claimed that the 10th Infantry Division’s military intelligence group was behind the abduction and killing of Rebelyn.

“No one has the intention, motive and track record of the MIG [military intelligence group]. They did this to my brother. They almost got my son. My other daughter, Rio, was tailed by elements of MIG when she was still studying and this continued even when she was already working. It was the 10th ID who said they wanted to get me … now who has the desire to see me weakened or dead?” Parago said.

But he said the NPA would not retaliate and follow the approach of the military. He, however, said that time will come for those who were behind the killing of Rebelyn to pay for their debts.

Rebelyn, 20, was on her way home on board a tricycle from St. Peter’s College in Toril District when she was snatched by armed men. She was forced into a white van and was overheard by the tricycle driver as screaming for help.

Her body bore torture marks and five stab wounds. Rope marks were also found around her neck, which could mean she was strangled.

The medico legal also found injuries in her genitals, believed to have been caused by a hard object.

The militant women’s group Gabriela took the killing as the government’s gift to them on International Women’s Day.

“She becomes the symbol of the entire Filipino women whose equal footing with men has been undermined by the Arroyo regime,” said Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan.

“What made it more outrageous was the fact that Rebelyn Pitao has dedicated her life to teaching, a profession that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has taken for granted over the years,” Ilagan said.

“Her only fault was being her father’s daughter,” Ilagan said.

In Manila, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano in a statement blamed the President, specifically her anti-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay-Laya on the murder of Rebelyn. Jeffrey M. Tupas with reports from Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao, and Gil Cabacungan Jr. in Manila

Teachers say GSIS deductions illegal

March 8, 2009

BAGUIO CITY — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) criticized the Government Social Insurance System’s (GSIS) automatic deductions from the salaries of those members with arrears on their benefits upon claiming.

ACT National Chairperson Antonio Tinio said the move is so unilateral, summary and not subject to appeal.

In a forum organized by ACT-Metro Baguio held at the People’s Multi-Purpose Hall in city hall, Tinio lambasted the GSIS for being unfair to its members for implementing such policies without looking first into the welfare of its members.

Under the Claims and Loans Interdependecy Policy (CLIP) which was introduced in mid-2002 by GSIS President and General Manager Winston Garcia, automatic deduction and posting of the deducted amounts as payments of outstanding loan arrearages with the system will be allowed. The CLIP is said to cover loan Accounts such as salary Loan , housing loans, emergency loans, pension loans and policy Loans. It will also include claims and benefits, life insurance benefits, such as maturity, cash surrender value, disability and death, retirement benefits, survivorship and funeral benefits.

Tinio said GSIS should first establish members who really have outstanding arrearages and who are the responsible because it is not automatically the member’s fault.

“Tama lang na singilin ang mga nakautang pero dapat idaan muna sa due process bago gumawa ng hakbang na makakaapekto sa kalakhan ng miyembro,” Tinio added. He also said if they found out that a member is really liable then they should file a case against that particular member.

Tinio, an instructor in the Filipino department in University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City cited Section 41(w) of the GSIS Act of 1997 which stipulates that the GSIS board of trustees must file a legal suit before the proper court or body in order to recover any arrears incurred by its members.

“This process provides members with an opportunity to challenge or disprove the claims of GSIS,” he said.

Tinio said there are cases that the premiums of public teachers are being deducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) from salaries but are not posted in the GSIS books.

Tinio accused GSIS, for being notorious in maintaining an incomplete and erroneous membership database. “While GSIS itself acknowledges that it is currently engaged in a massive ‘reposting’ project to bring these up to date, this does not keep it from using this flawed database to deduct alleged arrears” he explained.

He further explained in most cases these so-called premiums in arrears are false, merely the result of the failure to post premium payments, thus making members to be subjected to double deductions.

The forum is a part of the nationwide coordinated activities of ACT in its campaign against illegal deductions. Forms were given to teachers to help document their experience from the deductions.

Tinio said the nationwide ACT campaign against illegal deductions entitled “GSIS refund now!” will involve the suing GSIS officials responsible for the policy and filing a motion to nullify the automatic deduction policy and a demand for a refund of all allegedly illegal deductions GSIS made. # Aldwin G. Quitasol

Various education sectors in Cordillera assess concerns

March 6, 2009

BAGUIO CITY — Some 110 participants from various sectors in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) attended the regional conference on education entitled “Forging Unity Among Various Sectors Towards Quality education” held on February 21.

The conference became a venue to make steps and plan of actions to address the basic problems in education that the region faces today.

The state of education was viewed from different perspectives. National Union of Student of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet (NUSP-BB) Chairperson Maria Finela Mejia said education system in Cordillera is commercialized, colonial and fascist, as manifested in the rising cost of education and the courses offered today.

She cited the implementation of Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order 13 (CHEd Memo 13) as major cause of the yearly tuition and other fees hikes for it allows school owners to increase tuition and other fees without limit.

Amid the rising cost of education, the government and schools promote courses that are marketable and the ones with labor-export orientation. In the end, she challenges the youth by saying, “we should unite in fighting for our right to nationalist, mass-oriented and scientific education.”

CHEd recognized the students’ dilemma and said they have and will continue to ask the school owners not to increase tuition and other fees. When CHEd mentioned its assistance programs, some delegates commented they can not avail these scholarships because they do not meet the requirements of being “poor but deserving.”

On this note, CHEd CAR Director Virginia Akiate asked the students to pass a position paper regarding this so that CHEd can review the requirements of its scholarship programs.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), on the other hand, faulted the insufficient budget and government’s misprioritization of education for the declining quality of education.

“There are classrooms, books, and teachers shortages, yet the government allocates almost half of the national budget to debt services,” ACT Metro-Baguio Coordinator Perry Mendoza said.

These problems in education were proved to be true by the delegates themselves during the workshop groups where they cited manifestations of education problems in their provinces of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

With the crisis in education, the delegates were then divided into workshop groups and made as to how they can address the problems. Before the conference ends, the delegates came up with “Manifesto of unity calling for the quality and relevant education for all young Filipinos” signed by the delegates. # Adrian Galang

Ang napapala ng mga ‘subersibo’ posted 27-Jan-2009

February 6, 2009

Jeffrey Ocampo


Ikonikong butones sa kampanya para kay Prop. Raymundo (Kuha ni Rommel Rodriguez)

SA ISANG unibersidad na nakilala sa “liberal” na tradisyon, ang naiuulat na mga kaso ng “panunupil” sa kaguruan at mga mag-aaral nito ay lubhang nakababahala.

Ngunit kung susuriin ang huling mga kaganapan, ang animo’y palaisipan ay malalantad bilang kabalintunaan ng kontemporaryong postura ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (UP). Ayon sa mga progresibo sa loob ng pamantasan, tinutungo na nito ang isang “neoliberal” na landasin. Anila, dulot nito’y pagkakait ng edukasyong UP sa mga maralita at pagsisilbi ng pamantasan sa dayuhan at pribadong mga entidad. Tila tuluyan na itong nagbabalik sa orihinal na oryentasyon ng pamantasan nang itaguyod ito ng mga Amerikano sa unang dekada ng 1900.

At ang mga tutunggali sa tunguhing ito – guro, mag-aaral, iba pang bahagi ng komunidad – ay may lohikal na kahihinatnan.

Maaaring sabihin na ang partikular na kaso ng biglaang pagtanggi ng tenure sa katuwang na propesor ng Departamento ng Sosyolohiya ng Kolehiyo ng Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiya (KAPP) na si Sarah Raymundo ay isang halimbawa nito.

Nobyembre 6 ng nakaraang taon, verbal na ipinaabot ni Dr. Clemen Bautista, tagapangulo ng departamento, ang pasya ng tenured na kaguruan na hindi nito inapruba ang aplikasyon ng propesor para sa tenure. Mahigit isang taon na itong nakabinbin habang mabilis lamang sana itong maipagkakaloob sa isang propesor na nasapatan – o nahigitan pa nga – ang mga rekisito sa pagkakamit nito.

Bukod dito, hindi na raw niya kailangang pasukan ang mga klaseng itinalaga sa kanya pagpasok ng ikalawang semestre. Ibig sabihin, sa Mayo 31 na mawawalan ng bisa ang kontrata sa pamantasan.

Pulitika sa likod ng pasya

Ayon sa mga ulat, hindi man lamang ipinaliwanag ni Dr. Bautista kay Prop. Raymundo ang dahilan ng “pagkakait” sa kanya ng tenure at ng biglaang pagkakatanggal sa kanya sa trabahong pinagbusan niya ng husay at sikhay sa loob ng halos 10 taon.

Kung hihimayin ang rekord ni Prop. Raymundo, makikitang karapat-dapat siyang magawaran ng tenure: tapos ng masterado, nakapaglathala ng maraming sulatin na nakapag-ambag sa pagpapaunlad ng displina at naging tagapagsalita sa lokal at internasyunal na mga kumperensiya. Bukod dito, laging mataas ang gradong kanyang nakukuha sa ebalwasyon ng mga estudyante.

Tahimik magpasahanggang ngayon si Bautista at ang departamento hinggil sa tunay na dahilan ng pagtanggi nila ng tenure kay Prop. Raymundo. Ayon lamang sa departamento, nagkagawa si Prop. Raymundo ng “bridge of professional ethics.” Ngunit batay sa internal na mga diskusyon sa pagitan ng mga propesor ng Sosyolohiya na sumingaw sa publiko, kaugnay daw ito ng pakikisangkot ni Prop. Raymundo sa kampanya para sa dalawang mag-aaral ng UP na dinukot umano ng militar noong 2006 na sina Karen Empeño at Sherlyn Cadapan. Si Empeño, na nag-aral ng Sosyolohiya, ay naging estudyante mismo ni Prop. Raymundo.

Sa pagsusuri All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU), pulitika ang dahilan ng pagkakait ng tenure at pagkakasisante kay Prop. Raymundo. Batay naman sa obserbasyon ng marami, bagama’t biglaan ang pagpapaabot sa propesor, matagal nang binabalak ng ilang propesor sa departamento ang pagtanggal sa kanya dahil sa kanyang mga paninindigang malaki ang kaibhan sa kanila.

Ayon sa AUPAEU, hindi nagpapakulong si Prop. Raymundo sa apat na sulok ng teorya at inilalapat ito sa kongkretong kalagayan na dinudulot ng panlipunang kaayusan.

Manipestasyon umano nito ang masikhay niyang pagkilos sa mga organisasyon para sa kagalingan ng pamantasan at ng buong sambayanan. Siya ang pangkalahatang kalihim ng Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy – UP (Contend-UP), isang makabayang samahan ng mga guro sa UP. Bukod dito, siya rin ang pambansang ingat-yaman ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers at kasapi ng AUPAEU. Masipag din siyang mananaliksik ng Karapatan, isang grupong nagsisiyasat sa mga kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa bansa.

Ayon sa mga tagasuporta niya, malinaw na walang batayan ang pagsisante kay Prop. Raymundo.

Dahil din sa may pahayag ang departamento na ikokonsulta nila ang kaso sa Legal Office ng pamantasan, may hinala ang marami na may iba pang habla na isasampa laban kay Prop. Raymundo upang pabigatin ang kaso niya.

Magkaganito man, sinasabing tanging akademikong mga rekisito lamang ang dapat sandigan sa pagagawad ng tenure. Ngunit paliwang ng departamento, sila, higit sinuman, ang magpapasya kung gagawaran o hindi ng tenure ang isang propesor sa ilalim nito.

Matapos makapagsumite ng dalawang pormal na liham na inaalam ang dahilan ng pagtanggal sa trabaho, wala pang tugon na natatanggap si Prop Raymundo. Hinala tuloy ng marami, “delaying tactic” ito upang umabot hanggang katapusan ng Mayo ang usapin nang sa gayon ay magkaroon ng katangap-tanggap na dahilan ang mga kaganapan.

Sa isang pahayag, sinabi ng AUPAEU na “nakakagalit na sentenaryong taon ng kagalingan ng serbisyo ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, may magaganap na malaking kaso ng pagyurak sa karapatan ng kanyang mahuhusay na guro at iskolar.”

Panunugis

Ayon sa kanyang kapwa-guro na si Prop. Arnold Alamon, sinasalamin ng pangyayari ang “kalagayan ng sosyolohiya” sa pamantasan. Malamang, aniya, na ang “tipo ng sosyolohiya” (kritikal at higit sa lahat ay progresibo) na kanyang itinataguyod at isinasabuhay ang naging dahilan ng kanyang kinahinatnan. Dagdag ng propesor, isang “purge” ang naganap habang tinatalikdan ng departamento ang “mapagpalayang panambitan ng disiplina [ng Sosyolohiya]”.

Inihahalintulad naman ng marami ang kaganapang ito sa McCarthyistang panunugis noong dekada 50 hanggang 60. (Ang McCarthyismo ay isang doktrina sa Estados Unidos na ipinatupad din sa Pilipinas na nagbabawal ng “anumang pagnanais na magpabagsak ng pamahalaan.”) Sa ilalim ng Committee on Un-Filipino Activities (na kalauna’y naging Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities), binansagang “subersibo” at tinugis ang mga progresibo at makabayang mga guro na nagsusulong ng mga radikal na ideya at nakikisangkot sa makabayang kilusan. Ilan sa mga ito sa mga propesor sa UP na pinaratangang subersibo ay sina Leopoldo Yabes, Jose Lansang, Petronilo Daroy at ang noo’y batang guro sa Departamento ng Wikang Ingles na si Prop. Jose Ma. Sison.

Kung babalikan ang kasaysayan, napakarami pang progresibong mga propesor ng UP ang sinupil ng pamahalaan at ng mismong pamantasan. Itinuturing na banta ang talas ng kanilang isip at ang kanilang pagnanais na mabago kung anumang mali sa sistema.

Hamon

Buo naman ang suporta kay Prop. Raymundo ng kanyang mga estudyante, noon at ngayon, gayundin ang mga guro sa loob ng UP at maging sa Estados Unidos. Binuo ang isang blog upang ikampanya ang “hustisya” para sa propesor. Nakalimbag dito ang mga sulatin ng tunay na mga nakakikilala kay Prop. Raymundo. Mayroon ding petisyon kung saan maaaring pumirma ang mga mag-aaral at kaguruan ng UP.

Sa isang bukas na liham, sinabi ng mga guro mula sa Estados Unidos na “hindi makatarungan at hindi nararapat” ang pasya kaya hinihimok nila ang tagapangulo ng departamento at ang dekano ng KAPP na si Dr. Zozimo Lee na ipagkaloob kay Prop Raymundo ang tenure. Pinuri ng mga ito ang “matalas at kahanga-hanga” na mga sulatin ni Prop. Raymundo na kinikilala rin sa ibang bansa. Kabilang sa mga propesor na ito ay sina Dr. Jonathan Beller ng Pratt Intitute sa New York, Dr. Neferti Tadiar ng Columbia University, at Dr. Francisco Benitez ng University of Washington.

Malaki namang hamon para sa Contend, AUPAEU, sumusuportang kapwa mga guro sa loob at labas ng departmento ng Sosyolohiya at mga estudyanteng naniniwala na walang batayan ang pagkakasisante kay Prop Raymundo na maipagtagumpay ang labang ito. Maaari umanong maging hudyat ito ng panunugis sa mga gurong may progresibong kaisipan kung hindi ito maagapan, mailalantad at matutunggali. Kailangan ding lumantad ang iba pang mga propesor sa departamento na nakaranas din ng mga katulad na panggigipit at panunupil.

Sa kasalukuyan, tuloy sa kanyang pagpasok sa klase si Prop. Raymundo at sa pagtugon sa mga gawain sa makabayang mga organisasyon na kanyang kinaaaniban.

Bagama’t ganito nga ang napapala ng mga “subersibo,” di siya nagpapatinag sa mga tangkang supilin ang gurong makabayan katulad niya.(PinoyWeekly)

UP Academic Employees Clinch First CNA; Workers Get their Third

December 31, 2008

Academic employees of the University of the Philippines (UP) were able to clinch their first ever Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) with the UP administration just before the University’s Centennial celebration ended.

The All-UP Workers Union also signed their third CNA with the UP administration since 2001.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
LABOR WATCH
Bulatlat

Academic employees of the University of the Philippines (UP) were able to clinch their first ever Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) with the UP administration just before the University’s Centennial celebration ended.

The All-UP Workers Union (AUWU) also signed their third CNA with the UP administration since 2001.

Officers and members of both the All-UP Academic Employees Union (AUAEA) and the AUWU from UP campuses in Diliman, Manila, Los Baños and Baguio witnessed the simultaneous signing of the two Collective Negotiation Agreements (CNA), December 12 at the Quezon Hall in UP Diliman.

Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, head of the AUAEA negotiation panel, national vice chairperson for faculty of the union, and newly-elected faculty regent, said the signing of the first CNA is a victory for the faculty, Research, Extension and Professional Staff (REPS) and other academic personnel of the university.

Dr. Ermelinda Roman, UP president and Dr. Erlinda Castro-Palaganas, national president of the AUAEA, led the signing of the CNA.


Dr. Ermelinda Roman (R) and Dr. Erlinda Castro-Palaganas sign the Collective Negotiation Agreement. (Photo by R. Olea)

Other members of the union’s negotiation panel include Dr. Leticia Tojos, Dr. Melania Lagahit-Abad, Dr. Teodora Mendoza, Prof. Roland Simbulan, Dr. Ramon Guillermo, Ms. Guillermina Panizales and Dr. Simplicio Medina.

The UP administration panel is headed by Prof. Theodore Te, vice president for legal affairs and Dr. Arlene Samaniego. Other members are Dr. Orlino Talens and Dr. Roberto Rañola.

Workers

The AUWU signed their 3rd CNA with the UP administration. Arnulfo Anoos, national president of the AUWU and Dr. Roman led the signing of the CNA.

Other members of the union’s negotiation panel include Jossel Ebesate, Alexis Mejia, Benjamin Santos Jr., Florendo Sambrano, Francisca Vera Cruz, Clodualdo Cabrera, Rolando Golondrina and Jesusa Besido.

Anoos thanked the union members for their support. He said, “Sana’y maisabuhay nang buong-buo ang nilalaman ng CNA. Sana’y madagdagan pa [ang mga benepisyo] sa pana-panahong negosasyon.”
(I hope that the CNA will be fully implemented. I also hope that the workers would receive more benefits in the next negotiations.)

Principles, benefits

The new CNA upholds the rights of workers, REPS and faculty members to a living wage, security of tenure, career development, good working conditions, free movement and right to organization, right to strike, right against any form of discrimination and the right to be consulted on matters affecting the rank-and-file workers and academic personnel.

Economic benefits include three sacks of rice per year at P1,500 per sack ($31.178 at the current exchange rate of $1=P48.11); P 1,000 ($20.785) grocery allowance and P10,000 ($207.856) CNA incentive or signing bonus.

Committees were also formed to look into the implementation of the hazard pay and the provision on comprehensive medical insurance.

Rank-and-file faculty, REPS and workers are also entitled to three (3) days sick leave and a maximum of six (6) days of special leave privileges every year. Nursing mothers are also entitled to a two-day leave.

Centennial

Roman said the signing of the two CNA has made the celebration of the UP Centennial more meaningful and historical.

She said she considers the faculty and staff as the most important assets of the university. “Natutuwa ako, kahit may nagra-rally dito sa Quezon Hall buwan-buwan, tayo naman ay nagkakasundo. Kung nakikita nating dapat lamang, hinahanapan natin ng paraan.” (I am happy that even if there is a rally here at Quezon Hall every month, we manage to arrive at an agreement. If we see that it is right, we find the means to fulfill it.)


Roman and AUWU President Arnulfo Anoos sign the CNA. (Photo by R. Olea)

Militant unionism

Palaganas said it took them one-and-a half years to clinch the CNA with the UP administration. “Napatunayan nating muli na walang hindi maaatim sa sama-samang pagkilos,” (We have proven once again that nothing is impossible to achieve when we are united.) she said.

Anoos said, “Kung hindi sa patuloy na pagkilos, hindi ito magtatagumpay. Nasa kamay ng mga kawani, mga faculty at REPS ang kahihinatnan ng ating CNA.” (If not for our continuous action, we would not have succeeded. What would come out of the CNA is in the hands of the employees, faculty and REPs.)

Meanwhile, Ferdinand Gaite, national president of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) said the CNA of the two UP unions is a success of the sector of government workers.

Gaite said, “The COURAGE is in solidarity with the workers, faculty and REPS of UP and rest assured, we will continue to monitor the implementation of the two CNAs.”

Antonio Tinio, national chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) also witnessed the signing of the two CNAs. He welcomed the signing of the CNA between the All-UP Academic Employees Union and the UP administration. “For so long, the academic employees have been lagging behind. That has already been corrected. Their CNA can be considered as among the most advanced in the country.”

Tinio added, “Ito ay mahalagang ambag sa pagpapalakas ng unyonismo sa hanay ng akademya sa buong bansa.” (This is a significant contribution to the strengthening of unionism within the ranks of the academe in the whole country.)(Bulatlat.com)

Public school teachers in rural areas lash at GSIS

November 17, 2008

VIRAC, Catanduanes: Public school teachers in far-flung villages here scored the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for harassment, cheating and negligence over their perceived accountabilities.

At least five Government Service Insurance System members who have recently retired or in the process of retiring complained that the government insurance agency has been warning them to settle their unpaid salary loans while others said they were not being paid their matured policies after the proceeds due them had been paid to cover unpaid loans, even when they do not have any loans.

Oscar Uchi, a high school teacher at the Tambogñon national High School in a coastal village in Viga town, who had retired recently said the GSIS database indicated that a salary loan of P84, 200 that he made in 2003 has not been paid when records of his pay slips including that from the Department of Education for salary deductions, had appropriately been submitted to the GSIS.

Another GSIS member-teacher from the same school, Gregorio Villaray, lamented that he is retiring by January next year but the GSIS is forcing him to pay his salary loan of P74, 500 when his records showed it was already paid in full.

Maria Salome Tosic and Maria Filipina Liveta, also teachers of the said school claimed they have not obtained loans from the agency but when their policies matured, the agency would not pay them alleging the proceeds due their policies were made to cover for loans they made.

Avelino Tumala, also a teacher said his P60, 000 GSIS insurance policy have already matured but he was informed by the agency its proceed was paid to his unsettled loans. “I don’t have a single unpaid loan,” Tumala said.

The teachers said the mounting problems confronted by public school teachers was never experienced under the old GSIS setup. If there was, these were minor the teachers added.

Salvador Manlangit, a retired agriculture technician at the coastal Gigmoto Municipal office said he was required by the GSIS to fill up forms for his e-card in Virac town in June. Then he was assured the e-card would be received in 15 days. As it were, he has not received until now the e-card that is the instrument for the withdrawal of his monthly pension.

GSIS members here also complained that even educational policies for their children could not be collected when their children reach college. They said some beneficiary-students have already graduated and their GSIS policy still remains uncollected.

The teachers appealed to the government and the GSIS to save teachers from this kind of mess saying they are retiring poor only to become victims of injustices from the state-owned firm. This is double jeopardy, the teachers said adding that their counterpart in the private sector never encountered similar injustices from the Social Security System.
— Manny T. Ugalde

(Photos) World Teachers’ Day

October 13, 2008

Teachers commemorate World Teachers’ Day

with a protest action calling for higher salaries for teachers

and rank-and-file government employees.

Batasan, Quezon CityI

October 6, 2008

Teachers with Speaker Nograles

“We reiterate our call for a P9,000 for public school teachers, to be given over a three-year period, as contained in Senate Bill 2408 and House Bill 4734.At the same time, we support the call for a minimum P3,000 increase for the lowest salary grades to be given in the first year of implementation.”

UP Prof.  Antonio Tinio, Chair, Alliance of Concerned Teachers

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@yahoo.com Website http://www.actphils.com
Member, Education International

October 6, 2008

NEWS RELEASE
Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson

World Teachers’ Day to be marked by protest at Batasang Pambansa

Hundreds of public school teachers will troop to Congress this afternoon [Monday, October 6] to commemorate World Teachers’ Day with a protest action calling for higher salaries for teachers as well as rank-and-file government employees.

World Teachers’ Day was first inaugurated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994 to commemorate the signing on October 5, 1966 of the Joint UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a landmark document that sought to establish minimum international standards to promote and protect the teaching profession. The “Recommendation” served as the basis for the enactment of Republic Act 4670, the “Magna Carta for Public School Teachers,” in 1966. World Teachers’ Day is currently celebrated in more than 100 countries. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Teachers matter!”

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers will lead a delegation of over 500 public school teachers to voice out their opposition to Joint Resolution No. 24, the so-called Salary Standardization Law 3 (SSL3), which proposes a package of salary increases for all government employees spread out over the next four years. Joint Resolution No. 24 was filed by House Speaker Prospero Nograles on September 16, 2008 and is currently pending before the House Appropriations Committee.

ACT claims that SSL3 will not provide the lower- and middle-level government personnel sufficient increases in compensation to keep pace with the rising cost of living. “The proposed SSL3 will provide a mere P6,000 increase over a four-year period—that’s too little of an increase over too long a period of time. Teacher compensation will barely keep up with the inflation rate, much less make real gains in purchasing power,” said ACT chairperson Antonio Tinio. “It’s much worse for the lowest-ranking government personnel. A utility worker or clerk will receive a mere P1,800 increase over 4 years according to the SSL3 scheme. Meanwhile, the highest-ranking government bureaucrats will get increases of up to 100%. That’s clearly unjust.”

“We reiterate our call for a P9,000 for public school teachers, to be given over a three-year period, as contained in Senate Bill 2408 and House Bill 4734,” he added. “At the same time, we support the call for a minimum P3,000 increase for the lowest salary grades to be given in the first year of implementation.” Senate Bill 2408 was approved by the upper chamber last July, while its counterpart House Bill 4734 remains pending in the lower house.

“At this point, we’re disappointed with the response of Congress to the series of mass mobilizations held by public school teachers in the past few weeks to demand higher salaries. In commemoration of World Teachers’ Day, we urge our representatives to show that ‘teachers really do matter.’ It’s not too late to revise SSL3 in accordance with the widespread clamor of teachers as well as other government employees.”

The teachers will hold a brief program in front of the main gate of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City starting at 2:00 p.m., where they will be met by Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna, Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party, and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis. Rep. Ilagan, herself a retired teacher, is the principal author of House Bill 4734. They will then proceed to the Session Hall where they will hear Rep. Ocampo deliver a privilege speech to mark World Teachers’ Day.

“With the filing of Joint Resolution No. 24, the salary struggle now involves the whole government bureaucracy,” said Tinio. The ACT chairperson noted that today’s teachers’ protest is part of a series of actions against the SSL3 to be held by government employees at the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, October 7, COURAGE, the public sector union federation, will lead another protest action. This will be followed by a motorcade and rally to be led by the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) on Wednesday, October 8. “We will keep up the pressure on Congress to enact a more just and equitable compensation package for public servants.” #

Unity and Struggle
World Teachers’ Day 2008

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers salutes teachers throughout the globe on World Teachers’ Day 2008. We stand hand in hand with our colleagues in our common struggle to uphold the rights and welfare of educators and the people’s right to education.

Teachers in the Philippines face ever greater challenges in providing a liberating education to the nation’s youth. Under the Arroyo administration, the budget for education continues to decline as the government prioritizes debt servicing and military spending. From 2001 to 2006, real spending for education contracted by an average of 3.5%. The trend continues in the proposed budget for 2009 with further cuts in the maintenance and operations funds of public schools as well as the school building fund.

Teachers have borne the main brunt of these cuts, with the Arroyo administration imposing a six-year salary freeze that has driven them close to the official poverty line. Their working conditions have worsened, with growing shortages of teachers and classrooms resulting in larger class sizes and longer working hours.

The Arroyo administration’s budgetary priorities have had disastrous consequences for Philippine education. Nearly two million more school-age children are out of school. The quality of education has further deteriorated, with Filipino students ranking near the bottom in international benchmark tests.

With teachers and students rising up to fight for the right to education, the Arroyo government has responded by stepping up the repression. In recent years, a number of activist teachers and students have been slain by government security forces in extrajudicial killings. Many more are subjected to harassment by the military and police. In Metro Manila, the Philippine Army is aggressively conducting “school tours” in which they target progressive teacher and student organizations for vilification.

In the months and years ahead, the impact of the ongoing financial crisis in the United States will make itself felt in our own economy, so closely tied to the US as its provider of markets, foreign investments, and loans. As in the debt crisis of the1980 and the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the government’s economic managers will no doubt resort to cuts in spending for education and other social services, passing on the burden of the crisis to the people.

Our hope lies in our unity and in our common struggle. This year, ACT has been waging a vigorous campaign for higher salaries that has received widespread participation and support from teachers nationwide. We are showing once again that our united action is an effective force for upholding our rights and the people’s right to education.

October 5, 2008
ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@yahoo.com Website http://www.actphils.com

Member, Education International

TEACHERS DO MATTER
Manifestation in Commemoration of World Teachers’ Day

delivered by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo
at the House of Representatives
on 6 October 2008

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege to salute everyday heroes the world over who play vital roles in shaping every country’s citizenry. The gifts of literacy, knowledge and moral rectitude are passed on from one generation to the next because of them.

Yesterday, October 5, marked World Teachers’ Day. It was an occasion to pay homage to our teachers who, despite the great difficulties and inadequate monetary compensation in their chosen profession, continue to impart values and knowledge to their youth.

World Teachers’ Day was inaugurated 40 years ago to commemorate the signing on Oct. 5, 1966 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – International Labor Organization Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. More than 100 countries now celebrate World Teachers’ Day.

This year’s theme—Teachers Matter!”—aptly gives due recognition to the teachers’ “enormous contribution to learning and social development, ” as the joint statement of the UNESCO, ILO, UNDP and UNICEF put it.

Teachers do matter. Their noble profession as educators is significant in shaping society and a country’s soul.

But as we honor them we must focus on the plight of teachers, especially in the Philippine setting. Last week, two of our distinguished colleagues –Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, herself an educator, and Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III — took the floor to press for a substantial increase in teachers’ salaries as a matter of right on their part and as matter of respect for the teaching profession on our part. I join their call because our teachers have long been denied what is due them.

Most of the half- million public school teachers in the country – 479,893 to be exact – belong to Salary Grade 10 with a monthly pay of P12, 063.00. They need to be raised to Salary Grade 20 in view of the rising cost of living. The ten-percent salary increase given to them last July 23 was simply not enough.

As of August 2008, the cost of living for a family of six in Metro Manila was at P 911.00 a day or PhP 20, 042.00 per month. The 10% hike for those in the Teacher 1 position (who receive PhP 12,026/month) still leaves a living salary gap of PhP 8,016.00. Additionally, Manila has become a more expensive city to live in than last year. According to the Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living 2008 survey, Manila ranked 110th among 143 cities surveyed in six continents. The ranking is up 27 notches from 137th last year. Done in March, the survey measured the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, a national organization of patriotic and progressive teachers, are here in the gallery for the second time to lobby for the immediate passage of a legislation that will grant them immediate economic relief, and if I may add, peace of mind. Various measures are pending before this Chamber to address the teachers’ very just demands. One is House Bill 4734 titled “An Act Providing for Additional Compensation for Public School Teachers” principally authored by Gabriela Women’s Pary Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan with this representation as co-author.

HB 4734 seeks a PhP 9,000.00 hike in teachers’ monthly salaries to be carried out in yearly PhP 3,000.00 addition over the next years.

Similarly, there is House Bill 4380 on Additional Support and Compensation for Teachers in Basic Education, authored by Representatives Guingona, Cynthia Villar and Laarni Cayetano.

Speaker Prospero Nograles has introduced House Joint Resolution 24, “Joint Resolution Urging the President of the Philippines to Modify the Compensation and Position Classification System of the Government and to Implement the same Initially Effective July 1, 2009, and Authorizing the Amendment of Existing Laws and Issuances Contrary to the Provisions of this Resolution, ” or the Salary Standardization Law Phase Three or SSL 3.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, we welcome all moves to address our teachers’ just and legitimate demand for a salary hike, but this should be rightfully hinged on recognizing the fundamental difference between the economic needs of those from SG 1 to 9 from those in SG 26 to 33. Those who currently receive less are the most ravaged by the rising prices of basic commodities and should therefore benefit more from any legislative action on salary increase.

Measures can and should be made to reconcile the differences towards giving our intended beneficiaries the hike they need at the soonest time possible.

Mr. Speaker, I urge this Chamber to prioritize the immediate passage of legislation that will provide immediate economic relief to our overworked yet underpaid teachers. We continue to lose professionals, our teachers included, to the lure of much better pay in foreign shores. ACT pegs the shortage of public school teachers in the country to almost 40,000. We cannot afford to lose more of these noble professionals.

They should be prized and given just remuneration for their distinct legacy of knowledge and inspiration to the young. As they have molded us in our younger years, we leave our children and our children’s children to them for their intellectual and moral nourishment inside the school.
We owe our teachers this much and more. Thank you. #

Arkibong Bayan

Photos Courtesy of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)

Teachers score DepEd execs’ huge allowances

August 12, 2008

By Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:35:00 08/12/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Who got how much?

The 15,000-strong Alliance of Concerned Teachers has joined non-teaching personnel at the Department of Education in demanding the agency name the executives who benefited from the over P150 million in controversial “extra duty allowance” (EDA) over the past three years.

They made the call over the weekend, demanding “full transparency” in the perks and privileges enjoyed by DepEd executives.

The EDA is not covered by department guidelines and therefore has no legal basis, according to agency insiders.

Documents leaked to the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed the EDA has been a regular feature of DepEd seminar and training programs:

During the April 14-16 “jury duty for eligibility check” of 50 DepEd bidders for the construction of various school buildings nationwide, P117,000 was earmarked for EDA (out of the total activity budget of P139,700). Among the EDA recipients were Assistant Secretary for Finance Jesus Galvan, vice chair of the DepEd bids and awards committee, and panel members Annabelle Ramos and Deogracias Genito Jr., as well as Adonis Barraquias, chief of the BAC secretariat, among others.

Of the P9.16-million budget for the nationwide Teachers Induction Program, at least P1.12 million was allocated for EDA by Dr. Beatriz Torno, executive director of the DepEd-attached Teacher Education Council.

Of the nearly P1-million budget for the Personnel and Professional Enhancement Program, P136,000 was set aside for EDA by Zaida Azcueta, head of DepEd’s Staff Development Division and Human Resource Development Service.

Of the P682,580 budget for the Library Management Training for Regions 3, 4-A and 4-B, P115,000 was allocated to EDA.

For the Field Testing of Basic Administrative Service Improvement Course 1 for Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, Caraga and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, P178,000 was set aside for EDA.

In the Bureau of Elementary Education’s Every Child a Reader training program, which has a budget of P4.38 million, P760,000 was set aside for EDA.

In the P8.75-million basic course for new “mobile teachers” of the Bureau of Alternative Learning System, P238,000 was allocated to the EDA of trainers and facilitators.

In a statement, ACT also asked the DepEd to “involve independent teacher groups in the formulation of guidelines to provide a genuine check against possible abuses by management.”

Earlier, ACT chair Antonio Tinio said they were “outraged that while some DepEd executives helped themselves to up to P50 million (a year) in unlawful allowances, nearly P700 million in allowances of public school teachers remained unpaid.”

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus last week said all EDA payments had been suspended as “part of the streamlining operations of the department.”

Lapus also directed Teodosio Sangil Jr., undersecretary for finance and administration, to come up with EDA guidelines.

Sangil said without the guidelines, EDA was “like a wayward bus, a bus without a driver.”

He said the EDA system was in place when he and Lapus joined the DepEd in 2006.

During the past three years alone, the DepEd allocated over P3.43 billion for its various training programs.

For taking part, however briefly, in department-sponsored seminars and training programs, an undisclosed number of DepEd officials have been charging up to P15,000 a day in EDA.

Some top agency officials attend an average of four to eight training programs a month where they receive from P10,000 to P15,000 for merely making opening or closing remarks, said DepEd insiders.

“To think that delivering a brief speech or sharing their views on DepEd-related topics are part of their official functions,” they said.

Even ordinary DepEd employees are afflicted with the EDA “virus,” according to a DepEd section head, citing as an example “a casual employee here, with a P6,000 basic monthly pay, made a total of P72,000 in just three weeks by serving in the secretariat staff for three activities.”

P8.9M labor charge filed vs USANT, Ortega couple

August 5, 2008


ORTEGA

IRIGA CITY — At least five former rank-and-file employees of the University of St. Anthony in this city have filed a joint complaint before the Sub-Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission in Naga City for illegal dismissal, non-payment of salaries, holiday pay and other benefits, monetary claim, moral exemplary and nominal damages,

all in the sum of P8,959,293.08, excluding ten percent of whatever monetary awards the complainants are entitled to as attorney’s fees.

Susan M. Bance, Arlene C. Dimaiwat, Jean O. Velasco, Nancy M. Aguirre, and Hazel A. Lobetania who held the positions variedly as early as 1982 and 1994 as senior accounts officer and college instructor, accounting clerk, classroom teacher, accounts officers, and secretary in the office of the vice-president for finance and later as secretary to the president of the University of Saint Anthony (USANT), respectively, have filed their complaints against the university, its chairman and president Atty. Santiago Ortega, Jr., and Victoria SD. Ortega, wife of Santiago Jr, and VP for finance as respondents.

Insofar as respondent Victoria Ortega is concerned, the complaint said she was particularly impleaded in the complaint for being allegedly personally involved and responsible as well in the transactions that led to Lobetania’s dismissal from the service.

The complainants claimed that their dismissal was not only illegal, the same being both procedurally and substantially infirmed, but also done in bad faith and in an oppressive and humiliating manner.

In an interview with this reporter, Ortega Jr. said “we have documentary evidence to show that they (the complainants) committed estafa, to show that one of them stole millions of pesos.” In fact, he added, such documents have already been forwarded to the labor department.

Ortega also said that the accusation that the school administration refused to give the complainants their benefits is untrue. “May mga pinirmahan sinda diyan na pay slip kaya how can they deny that,” he asked adding that such matter has already been presented by him to the labor department.

In the case of Lobetania, it was alleged “that her separation from work is the result of the ugly marital conflict involving spouses Atty. Santiago Ortega Jr. and Mrs. Victoria SD Ortega that aggravated into serious money and family problems.” Caught in the crossfire, the joint complaint said, are complainant Lobetania and the other complainants who were subsequently dismissed from the service for allegedly baseless causes.

They also accused Ortega Jr. of subsequently filing various “unfounded criminal complaints” as an obvious afterthought, motivated by bad faith and ill-will.

They said it was Ortega Jr.’s alleged hideous manner of harassing and dissuading them from pursuing their labor cases because he could not accept the fact that ordinary persons like them would have the courage to stand up and fight for their rights by filing the consolidated labor case.

The complainants pray that judgment be rendered declaring their dismissal as illegal, holding the respondents responsible therefore, and commanding the respondents to reinstate them to their former work without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to pay their full back wages, and their other benefit or monetary equivalent computed from the date they were terminated up to their actual reinstatement.

On his alleged marital problem, the university president said he is not the only married man who faces such problem. “I do not see relevance of the issue on my misunderstanding with my wife with their (complainants’) estafa cases, getting money from my school, and stealing millions,” Ortega quipped.(BicolMail)

Teachers’ group supports Council reso asking military to stop using public schools as camps

July 29, 2008

MindaNews
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 22:26
var sburl9107 = window.location.href; var sbtitle9107 = document.title;var sbtitle9107=encodeURIComponent(“Teachers’ group supports Council reso asking military to stop using public schools as camps”); var sburl9107=decodeURI(“http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4782”); sburl9107=sburl9107.replace(/amp;/g, “”);sburl9107=encodeURIComponent(sburl9107);DAVAO CITY (KamKen 20 July) –The Kahugpungan sa mga Magtutdlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao – Alliance of Concerned Teachers Davao (KAMKEM-ACT Davao) supports the resolution passed by the Davao City Council asking the military to stop using public schools as militar)y encampments. “The presence of military in school premises does not only pose threat to the students but to the teachers and other personnel in school as well. We don’t want to be turned into human shield when armed encounter strikes, ” says Mr. Elenito Escalante, spokesperson of KAMKEM-ACT Davao.

“Notwithstanding the threat for safety, their presence also disrupts normal school activities,” Mr. Escalante added.

The teachers’ group also anticipates the possibility that the military might come across armed groups in areas nearby schools. “We are disturbed with the fact that during military operations, schools are being used evacuation centers resulting to interrupted classes that may last up to months. We worry that our students will not be able to sustain their schooling,” the spokesperson further explained.

KAMKEM-ACT Davao urges the military to stand by their oath to protect the civilians by leaving school premises.

for reference:
Mr. Elenito Escalante

Teachers Demand for Decent Salary, Gear Up for ‘People’s SONA’

July 27, 2008

The plight of Filipino teachers has been at its worst since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). Amid the recent surges in the prices of petroleum products and consequently of transport and basic commodities, it is but just to demand for a salary increase, said the group.

BY JEFFREY OCAMPO
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 25, july 27-August 2, 2008

As Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to deliver her State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28, teachers in public elementary and high schools expressed dissatisfaction over her performance. Apparently, they are a part of the significant percentage of Filipinos, which according to the most recent survey of Pulse Asia, has become cynical of what Arroyo will have to say in her SONA.

Last July 23, a ten-percent increase in salary was given to public schools teachers. Starting this month, teachers categorized in the Teacher 1 position – constituting the majority – would be receiving a monthly salary of P11,933 ($269.79 at an exchange rate of $1=P44.23). A similar rate of increase was implemented last year after a six-year moratorium in pay hikes.

Their salary, however, even with the increases, falls short of the living wage. According to National Wages and Productivity Commission, the daily cost of living is P871 ($19.69) per day or P19,162 ($433.23) per month for a family of six.

Teachers comprise one-third of the 1.5 million government employees. They suffer from stress because of overloading, worsening working conditions and low salary, says ACT. Their disconcerting plight contributes largely to the deterioration of the state of Philippine education.

Grievances

A teacher at the Commonwealth Elementary School who prefers not to be named shared, “Teaching school children is tough enough but the distressing working condition and issues are too much too handle.”

The Department of Education (DepED) issued Memorandum No. 291 last June 13 instructing public school teachers “to fully utilize the six hour actual classroom teaching time.” This means that a teacher must spend six hours facilitating classes. This, however, according to ACT, prevents them from doing other things their job requires like writing lesson plans and preparing instructional materials.
According to the same memorandum, teachers are not exempted from the eight-hour working time. Thus, the remaining two hours should be spent for activities “within or outside school premises to comply with the eight-hour workday.” But based on the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, teachers are to spend “not more than six hours” for actual classroom teaching, says ACT.

Another issue confronting teachers is overloading that is an “inevitable consequence of the shortage of teachers.” Those with additional load should be given 25 percent of their monthly salary. But, according to ACT, the additional pay is not at all given. Aside from overloading, a teacher has to handle 60 to 70 students in a class while the international standard of class size is only 25.

The provisions of the Salary Standardization Law is also not being implemented thoroughly in public schools. As prescribed by the law, a P300-increase ($6.78) should be given to teachers after every 3 years of their service. This, says ACT, is not even enough. Worse, reports show that teachers have to apply and present to Department of Education (DepEd) their qualifications before they can get the supposed automatic salary increase.

They are also having problems with the Government Security and Insurance System’s (GSIS) service record, which has not been updated. There are reported cases wherein the salaries of teachers who have fully paid for their loans still reflect deductions for loan payments. Even retired teachers are not spared from the GSIS’s “flawed system.” In 2006, a retired teacher suffered a heart attack at the GSIS office in Lucena City upon learning that she would not be getting her pension because her E-Card had not been activated. She died afterwards.

Salary Increase

Among professionals, teachers receive the lowest monthly salary. Teachers are now “among the ranks of the poor”, relates Antonio Tinio, ACT chairperson.

Thus, ACT’s effort towards alleviating teachers from their dire state centers on the demand for a P9,000 ($203.48) salary increase. This means that their monthly salary should amount to P19,579 ($442.66), an amount “necessary to preserve the dignity of the teaching profession and bring it closer to the rising cost of living.” The current salary of teachers “barely keeps them above the poverty line,” adds Tinio. The demand aims to upgrade teachers from Salary Grade 10 to Salary Grade 20 of the Salary
Standardization Law.

Their campaign for a higher salary has gained support.

Last July 11, Senate Bill No. 2408 entitled “An Act Providing Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education” was submitted to the Senate and was approved by Allan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Mar Roxas and other senators. According to the bill’s declaration of policy, the government shall “promote the welfare and economic well-being of public school teachers, locally-funded teachers and non-teaching personnel” who are its primary beneficiaries. Section 4 of the bill says that “an amount of P9,000 per month shall be granted” to the beneficiaries and “shall be paid in three equal tranches” (P3,000 every year for three years). Also, the teachers shall receive financial support, medical allowance and Magna Carta bonus. So far, SB 2408 has passed second reading in the Senate.

A similar bill was filed in the Lower House. House Bill 4734, which is entitled “The Public School Teachers’ Additional Compensation Act”, is being pushed by Gabriela Women’s Party representative, Luzviminda Ilagan who herself was a school teacher.

ACT has held mass actions in different areas like Muntinlupa, Quezon City and Manila to gain more support from their fellow teachers for their call for a salary increase.

Teachers to Join the ‘People’s SONA’

Teachers are also set to join the ‘People’s SONA’ along with the other sectors of society on July 28. “We also oppose the implementation of the oil deregulation law, R-VAT [Reformed Value-Added Tax] and other anti-Filipino government policies that worsen the lives of ordinary citizens and add to the misery of public school teachers. We are one with the majority of the Filipino people who vows to oust Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo from her position,” says Tinio.

ACT members from different elementary and secondary schools in Metro Manila will be gathering in front of Diliman Preparatory School before marching to Batasang Pambansa on July 28. Bulatlat

UP Centennial Bonus Released; Union Fights for Other Benefits

June 30, 2008

As the administration of University of the Philippines, the state’s premier university, spends millions of pesos for centennial celebrations, its faculty members and non-teaching employees need to assert their economic rights before getting the benefits they deserve.

BY KATRINA MACAPAGAL
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 21, June 29-July 5, 2008

On June 18, President Emerlinda Roman announced the approval of a P20,000 centennial bonus for University of the Philippines (UP) employees. It was released June 26.

According to memorandum number AAS-08-30 signed by UP Vice President for administration Arlene Samaniego, all UP officials, faculty, and employees who have been in service for at least one year shall receive the centennial bonus.

Employees of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), however, shall only receive P17,000. According to Roman, the P3,000 bonus that PGH employees received on August 2007 is already part of the centennial bonus.

The source of funding for the bonus is not included in the P150 million UP centennial fund. The memorandum reads that the centennial bonus is “chargeable against UP’s income and subject to pertinent budgetary accounting and auditing rules and regulations…” (see sidebar)

Small victory

The All UP Workers Union (AUPWU) has been pushing for the centennial bonus since the formation of the centennial committee fund on February 13, 2007.

According to AUPWU National President Noli Ano-os, although they are happy with the approval of the bonus, the grant differs from the union’s initial demand.

Okey kami na naibigay y’ung bente pero kasi y’ung proposal ay 20,000 plus 1,000 per year of service. Dito medyo marami nagreklamo” (It’s fine with us that the P20,000 was given, but the proposal was P20,000 plus 1,000 per year of service. Many complain about this), Ano-os said. He added that many UP workers have been in service for almost 30 years and deserve to be rewarded for their loyalty now that UP is celebrating its centennial.

For All-UP Academic Union National Vice President for Faculty Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, the amount will only be used to pay for incurred debts of many employees.

Fair demands

The P20,000 bonus is but one of the demands that the AUPWU has raised in their talks with the UP administration in coming months before the centennial celebration.

UP workers have also asked for rice subsidy, equal distribution of the budget for merit promotion, and extended sick leaves for UP workers. At present, only the centennial bonus and the rice subsidy have been approved.

Regarding the issue of the budget for merit promotion, Anoos explains: “Nag-allocate y’ung admin ng P20 million for merit promotion. P16 million paghahatian ng 4,000 na faculty. P4 milyon paghahatian ng halos 8,000 pang employees” (The admin allocated P20 million for merit promotion. P16 million of that will be divided among 4,000 faculty employees. P4 million will be divided among 8,000 more employees.) Ano-os argues that this is discriminatory against non-faculty UP workers.

Ano-os further argues that the same discrimination against non-faculty UP workers is evident in the demand for extended sick leaves. The UP administration has granted additional 10 days sick leave only for faculty members.

Kung mag-isip sila ng gan’ung biyaya, ipagkaloob ito sa lahat” (Having thought of giving such benefit, they should give it to all employees), Anoos said.

According to Prof. Michael Andrada, National Treasurer of the All UP Academic Employees Union, UP faculty members are united with all UP workers in their demand for fair benefits.

Sa di patas na hatian ng budget para sa merit promotion at sa isyu ng extended sick leave, malinaw ang diskriminasyon ng administrayong Roman laban sa kawani at REPS [research, extension, and professional staff]. Kaming mga guro, bagamat tila pinapaboran sa dalawang isyung ito, ay di pabor sa diskriminasyong ito at patuloy na magsisikhay para sa pagkakapantay-pantay” (On the issues of inequitable budget allocation for merit promotion and extended sick leave, it is clear that the Roman administration discriminates against non-faculty employees and REPS. We teachers, although seemingly favored on these two issues, are not in favor of this discrimination and will continue to work hard for equal treatment), Andrada asserts.

Challenges

As the UP community continues to celebrate its centennial, Anoos poses a challenge to the UP administration. “Hamon ngayong sentenyal na sana yung administrasyon natin, y’ung kanilang pagharap sa buong UP system ay tanggalin nila yung pagdi-discriminate sa sektor” (On the centennial year, the challenge for our admin is to elimitae discrimination).

In a recent statement, the AUWU also criticizes the efforts of the UP administration to advertise the centennial celebration through various forms of media. “Mas malamang na nakapatungkol ang mga anunsyong ito sa mga korporasyong pribado para mag-invest sa UP at sa mga mayayamang alumni para magbigay ng donasyon sa UP” (It is more likely that these advertisements are aimed at private corporations, seeking to encourage them to invest in UP and to wealth alumni, intending to encourage them to donate to UP), the statement read.

Despite the approved centennial bonus, Andrada poses a challenge to the UP administration and the rest of the UP community: “Ngayong sentenaryo, hamon sa UP administration na paglingkuran ang sambayanan at hindi ang makasarili at komersyal na interes nila. Lalo’t higit, ang hamon ay nasa mga miyembro ng komunidad ng UP upang huwag magpadala sa lohika ng negosyo na ipinapalaganap ng administrasyong Roman” (On the centennial year, the challenge to the UP administration is to serve the people and not their selfish and commercial interests. Above this, the challenge to members of the UP community is to not be carried away by the logic of business which the Roman administration is propagating.)

For Taguiwalo, the challenge ahead is beyond the confines of the university. She said, “Kailangang ang sama-samang pagkilos ng nagbunga ng tagumpay sa pagkakamit ng bonus ay maisanib sa lakas ng mamamayan laban sa pahirap, korap at pasistang rehimeng Arroyo” (The concerted action which resulted in success in getting the centennial bonus should be combined with the people’s showing of force against the anti-people, corrupt and fascist Arroyo regime.)

Sidebar
UP Centennial Budget Breakdown*

Item

Million (P)

Centennial Lectures
Tri Media Projection
Capital Outlay
Centennial Concert
Centennial Notes
Centennial Awards
Centennial Literary Contest
Audio Visual Presentation
History Project
Coffee Table Book
Digital Film Making Contest
Centennial Music Video
Centennial Address Book
Centennial Glass Plates
Centennial Song Contest
Centennial Newsletter
Events Poster
Administrative Expense
Honoraria (1.5 million)
Centennial Commission
Operations (1 million)
Travel ( 2.5 million)

Contingencies

P 13
12
85
5
5
2

2
2
1.4
1.5
.7
.7
.5
.5
.4
.3
.15
5




10

Total

P147.15 million

*Approved by the UP Board of Regents on September 28, 2007, at UP Los Banos.

Source: Statement of All UP Workers Union at All UP Academic Employees Union released on June 16, 2008.

Bulatlat

Binmaley mayor deplores sub-standard materials

June 20, 2008

BINMALEY–Upon seeing that substandard materials are being used to repair schools here damaged by Typhoon Cosme, Mayor Simplicio Rosario has immediately ordered a halt to the ongoing reconstruction work in two schools

Rosario, an engineer and a contractor prior to entering public service, said he personally saw, while he was distributing free school bags and notebooks to school children in his town, that the steel being used by the contractor of the Department of Education (DepEd) is only 9 millimeters in size which is not enough to hold trusses.

“This is not fit for building construction,” an angry mayor said, adding that it puts the children and the school staff at risk in the event another natural calamity, especially an earthquake, hit the town.

Stopped by the mayor were the rehabilitation of Binmaley Central Elementary School and Binmaley North Central School, two of the most heavily-damaged schools.

Rosario asked the contractor to present to him the design for the repairs, and he was told that the reconstruction blueprint came from the DepEd central office and no coordination was undertaken with the town’s engineer.

The mayor also stressed that while the town is grateful to the DepEd’s immediate assistance in the aftermath of the calamity, the department must not compromise safety of the schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, the school opening here went smoothly on Tuesday, June 10, despite the extensive damage brought by the typhoon on May 17.

Eduviges de Vera, principal of the Binmaley North Elementary School, told The PUNCH that they have adopted two shifts for the classes to accommodate all students owing to the lack of classrooms.

It was the school’s Gabaldon building that houses eight classrooms, the principal’s office, and the school clinic that was badly damaged.

De Vera expressed optimism that the rehabilitation will be finished soon. #

Chalk + Talk = Physics?

June 19, 2008

The weak condition of science and math education in the country is a reflection of the underdevelopment of our economy and the skewed priorities of government.

BY REYNALDO V. LUNA
Prometheus Bound/Manila Times
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 19, June 15-21, 2008

The economic growth of a country requires the development of skilled science and technology practitioners to serve the needs of a thriving domestic industry However, without a local industrial base, there will be no impetus to have an adequate number of technologically-skilled manpower.

The weak condition of science and math education in the country is a reflection of the underdevelopment of our economy and the skewed priorities of government. The training of graduates in science and technology should be towards the development of a local core of experts and not towards the continuing labor export. Adequate support should be provided to educational institutions, especially the state colleges and universities.

A case in point is the BS Physics program, which I recently finished, at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Ten years ago, I was offered to take up the course, with only a few freshmen enrollees and even fewer graduating students from the course. More than seven out of 10 freshmen Physics students did not choose this course willingly. Most took it because there were no more slots in other colleges or were advised by the school registrar. Our learning was through “chalk and talk” discussions with very little exposure to hands-on physics.

During our first and second years, we were able to use the remaining instruments like Vernier calipers, micrometers, beam balances and stopwatches; and standard experimental setups like the force table for studying vectors.

But as one advances to the third and fourth years, more and more experiments on higher Physics subjects are left to “chalk and talk” discussions as no equipment was available. The students move on even without exposure and familiarity with standard physics laboratory equipment. In my own field, acoustics, there were no oscilloscopes for experiments that are vital in visualizing sound waves.

Advanced experimental physics courses become a gedanken or thought (imagined) experiment. One discusses the concepts and the procedure; and the instructor just provides the data for the students to analyze since no setup could be used.

Although students had been paying laboratory fees, there are no computers for our numerical analysis subject. Programs on paper cannot be tested to compile since there is no space to type it in. Some students are able to test theirs on their home computers but those without one found it hard to grasp computer programming and were uncertain if their program will run correctly. Even the professors use the computers and projectors at their expense to be able to teach the class.
Before 2006, there was only one professor who handled nine subjects for Physics majors. This led to uneven focus on some of these subjects, undermining the understanding of the students regarding those subjects. New faculty were hired to bring new ideas and expose students to new physics researches but they eventually left the college because there were better job offers outside PUP.

Yet some alumni are bringing hope to PUP. Those who finished their Masters degree are returning to teach. They become thesis advisers and coordinators. They teach advanced courses and help widen the horizon and perspectives of the physics students with seminars and trainings to develop scientific skills.

Despite obsolete and outdated facilities and materials, students find other ways to gain knowledge and expertise by attending conferences, trainings and congresses. Student theses are being compiled and exhibited on cabinets to highlight a tedious and painstaking period of research. PUP physics students continue to bring pride and honor to the university in contests, winning the Champion and First-Runner Up slots in the 2008 Technological University of the Philippines Luzon-Wide Physics Contest.

The state of the physics program in PUP is a direct result of how the government has misprioritized education. Even with the recent incentives for students to enter science and mathematics, the corresponding support structures in universities, such as laboratories, teachers and classrooms, still need to be augmented. The BS Physics in PUP needs better physics laboratories, more qualified instructors and research collaboration with well-established institutions to reach its goal of becoming part of a recognized center of excellence in physics in the country.

The situation is not one to deter the PUP student. With our strong tradition of upholding our right to education, we actively participate in actions to promote quality and free education. We continue to strive and make science meaningful both to ourselves and to others. Manila Times/posted by Bulatlat

Mr. Reynold V. Luna, a new physicist member of AGHAM, teaches Physics in PUP and is taking up MS Physics at UP Diliman. He is the 2008 PUP class valedictorian and graduated magna cum laude in May.

opinion@manilatimes.net.

8-hour workday for teachers

June 17, 2008

BY ASHZEL HACHERO

EDUCATION Secretary Jesli Lapus yesterday ordered the implementation of the eight-hour workday for public elementary and high school teachers.

Lapus said teachers now have to do six hours of actual classroom teaching and use the remaining two hours to make lesson plans and engage in other school activities.

Over and above the six-hour classroom work and the eight-hour workday, a teacher can charge overtime pay. Lunch breaks are not included in the new timetable.

The guidelines are in accordance with the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (R.A. 4670).

Lapus said the order would give public school teachers more time to “innovate and enhance classroom teaching.”

Under Memorandum Order 291, public school teachers shall render at most six hours of actual classroom teaching a day except when undertaking academic activities that require presence outside the school premises such as educational trips.

School heads shall assign teaching loads to fully utilize the six-hour actual classroom teaching, i.e., one hour per teaching load with due regard for possible teaching intervals. Advisorship and/or special assignments for the entire school year combined shall be considered as one teaching load.

The two hours of teaching-related work within or outside the school premises includes preparation of lesson plans, action plans, instructional materials, evaluation/assessment of rubrics, preparation and checking of exercises, recording of academic performance and classroom accomplishments, conduct of research, attendance to seminars, workshops and similar programs, counseling, mentoring, coaching of students including home visits.

It also includes consultation with parents, performance of coordination activities and recognized community social services, and participation in the improvement and maintenance of school facilities.

In the exigency of the service, a teacher may be required to render more than six hours of teaching and more than eight hours of workday, provided they are given additional pay computed at the same hourly rate of the regular compensation, plus a premium of 25 percent of the hourly rate for actual classroom teaching in excess of six hours and for work performed in excess of eight hours.

Overtime pay can only be claimed for actual teaching and /or work performed within the school premises. In the event of non-availability of funds, service credits shall be granted and a one-hour overtime work shall be counted as 1.25 hours for purposes of determining the service credits.

Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) president Benjo Basas said teachers have finally been given a lighter load after four decades of asking for it.

Basas said teachers have complained that their daily work grind is too heavy because they also have to do administrative work and sometimes act as athletic coaches, judges in school contests, and even chaperons in intra-school competitions. Teachers are also required to serve as election inspectors.

He said many teachers have developed work-related diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, because of long nights and days of looking after students, their lesson guides and even the school itself. (Malaya)

Modus operandi sa matrikula

June 14, 2008

pataas nang pataas (KJ Rosales)

PASASALAMAT sana si Auline “Au” Hipolito, 19-na-taong-gulang na anak ng mga manggagawa, na di na siya kailangang lumayo para magkolehiyo. Madaling lakarin sa araw-araw ang CMU o City of Malabon University, pamantasang matatagpuan sa pinakapusod ng maralitang komunidad sa Dagat-dagatan, at dating reklamasyong ipinagawa ni dating gobernador Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Pasalamat sana siya, pero dahil na rin sa pagtindi ng krisis, nagiging mahirap ang manatili sa eskuwela. Senior na siya ngayon sa kursong Political Science, pero pinag-iisipan na ni Au kung kakayanin pa ng mga magulang niya ang magpaaral.

Itinatag noong 1992, nakatuon dapat ang CMU sa edukasyong pangkolehiyo ng kalakhan ng populasyon ng Malabon na binubuo ng mga mangingisda at ordinaryong manggagawa. Pero di kalauna’y tila “nahawa” na ito sa uso: pagtataas ng bayarin ng mga estudyante.

“Maraming freshman ang di na nagtuloy dahil malaki ang itinaas ng registration fee,” ani Au. Sinisingil ang mga residente ng Malabon na papasok ngayong taon ng P3,000 mula sa dating P1,500 lang. Para naman sa mga di residente, P4,000 mula sa dating P2,750.

Nitong nakaraang buwan, mayabang na idineklara ni Pangulong Arroyo na hindi puwedeng magtaas ng matrikula ang mga SCU (state colleges and universities). Di agad naisip ng Pangulo na nang ideklara niya ang pagbabawal, tapos na ang enrollment sa kalakhan ng mga pamantasan. Kung kaya, noong huling linggo ng Mayo, sinabi niyang ire-refund na lang sa mga estudyante ang binayarang dagdag sa matrikula.

Pero matrikula lang ang sakop ng deklarasyon. Sa kaso ng CMU – at marami pang SCU – nailusot pa rin ang pagtaas ng bayarin dahil maraming iba pang fee ang sinisingil sa mga estudyante.

“Sabi nila, hindi matrikula ang binabayaran namin dahil binayaran naman daw ito ng lokal na gobyerno. Pero parang matrikula na rin siya, di ba? Kasi, di ka naman makakapasok kung di mo siya mababayaran agad,” sabi pa ni Au.

Balik-bayad: kaya ba?
Hindi maiwasang magduda ng mga organisasyong pangkabataan kung kayang tupdin ng mga SCU ang balik-bayad na kautusan ng Malakanyang. Una sa lahat, ni wala pang malinaw na mekanismo kung paano ito gagawin.

Maging ang Ched, hanggang ngayon, tahimik pa rin sa kautusang balik-bayad sa mga paaralang pinapatakbo ng gobyerno.

Sa ngayon, wala pang ni isang SCU na nagtaas ng matrikula ang nag-refund alinsunod sa utos ni Arroyo. Sa NCR (National Capital Region), isa sa mga nagtaas ng matrikula ang programang Open University ng PUP (Politeknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas). Mula P12 kada yunit, itinaas ito sa P100. Tutal, nakatuon naman sa nagtatrabaho nang mga estudyante ang Open University, inisip marahil ng administrasyon, na kaya nilang pasanin ang mataas na dagdag-bayarin.

Pero ang masama pa, kapag itinataas ang ibang bayarin bukod sa matrikula, wala nang habol ang mga estudyante.

Sa mga eskuwelahang iniikutan ng NUSP (National Union of Students of the Philippines), alyansa ng mga konseho ng mag-aaral sa iba’t ibang kolehiyo’t pamantasan, di na madalas mapag-usapan ang tuition refund. Imbes na balik-bayad, nagiging taas-bayad pa. Hindi man nadagdagan ang matrikula, todo-larga naman ang pagtaas ng miscellaneous fee at iba pang bayarin.

Ang problema pa, wala namang deklarasyon ang Pangulo ng refund na sumasaklaw sa mga bayaring hindi matrikula.

Ayon kay Alvin Peters, pangulo ng NUSP, ito ang madalas na modus operandi ng mga eskuwelahang pangkolehiyo. Maraming halimbawa rito:

• Sa University of Northern Philippines sa Vigan, Ilocos Sur, mula sa dating miscellaneous fee na P75 kada yunit, nasa P100 na siya ngayon. Bukod pa sa dagdag na P20 sa mga bayarin sa paggamit ng library, serbisyong medikal at dental, athletics at maging sa registration fee.
• Sa Philippine Normal University naman sa Maynila, sinimulan na ang pagsingil para sa 400 porsiyentong taas-matrikula na nagkabisa noon pang 2003, dagdag ni Peters.
• Abala naman ang PUP sa kosmetikong “pagpapaganda” ng main campus nito sa Sta. Mesa, kaya itinaas nito ang sinisingil na energy fee, development and modernization fee, at iba pa. May ilang kolehiyong nagtaas ng miscellaneous fee. College of Computer Management, mula P500-600, naging P1000 ang miscellaneous fee.

“Sa amin naman sa CMU, may ganyang mga dagdag din. Mula sa admission test hanggang sa verification of grades. Huwag nang isama pa ang interes sa hinuhulug-hulugan mong mga bayarin na limang porsiyento. Kapag hindi ka nakaabot sa grade ceiling, may multa ka rin,” himutok ni Au.

Kung di maitatakda ang panuntunan at kung paano ipapatupad ang binabalak na balik-bayad sa sobrang singil sa mga SUC, malabong maisakatuparan ang kautusang ito ni Pang. Arroyo,” sabi pa ni Peters.

Sa eskuwelahang Katoliko…
Samantala, lusot din sa deklarasyon ni Arroyo ang pang-akademikong mga institusyong pinapatakbo ng Simbahang Katoliko – sa simpleng dahilang di naman sila maaaring diktahan ng gobyerno.

Katoliko ang marami sa pribadong mga pamantasan, pero tila hindi Kristiyanismo kundi kapitalismo ang pangunahing prinsipyong namamayani sa mga pamantasang ito. “Market-driven” o nakadepende kasi sa takbo ng pamilihan ang kanilang “produkto,” ayon kay Joel Pagsanjan, kahahalal na direktor-ehekutibo ng Ceap (Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines), samahan ng mga unibersidad at kolehiyong tuwirang pinapatakbo o may kaugnayan sa Simbahang Katoliko.

Binigyang-diin ni Pagsanjan na kung di sila magtataas ng matrikula, di mapapabuti ang mga pasilidad at maitataas ang suweldo ng mga guro na malaking salik para maiangat ang kalidad ng edukasyong ibinibigay ng kanilang institusyon.

Sa kasalukuyan, wala pang datos kung gaano kalaki ang itinaas ng matrikula sa pribadong mga pamantasan at kolehiyo. Gayunman, inamin ni Pagsanjan na karamihan sa mga ito ay inaasahang magtataas. Paliwanag ni Gaudencio Kardinal Rosales ng Maynila, “Tumataas nang tumataas ang bilihin kaya makatuwiran lang na magtaas tayo ng singil.”

“Pinagsusumikapan ng mga paaralan nating mapagbuti ang kalidad ng edukasyon. Isa pa, kahit mataas ang singil, marami pa rin namang nagpapatala sa mga paaralang Katoliko dahil sa de-kalidad na edukasyong iniaalok ng mga ito,” dagdag ng kardinal.

Masasabi marahil na may kalidad nga ang mga pamantasan at kolehiyong Katoliko, tulad ng Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle System, University of Sto. Tomas, Miriam College, at San Beda College. Pero di maikakailang malaki rin ang taunang kinikita ng mga pamantasang ito.
Samantala, sa ibang pribadong paaralan, gaya nang Emilio Aguinaldo College, sumisirit din ang halaga ng matrikula.

Patakarang gawing negosyo ang edukasyon
Isinisisi ng LFS (League of Filipino Students) at Kabataang Pinoy Party-list sa di pagsunod ng gobyerno sa itinatakda ng Konstitusyong 1987 ang patuloy na pagtaas ng halaga ng edukasyon sa bansa.

Ani Vencer Crisostomo, tagapangulo ng LFS, sa halip na ilaan ang pinakamalaking bahagi ng pambansang badyet sa badyet para sa edukasyon, patuloy pang kinakaltasan ang huli para mabigyang-daan ang aniya’y “komersiyalisasyon” ng pampublikong edukasyon.

“Itinakda ng Artikulo 14 ng ating Konstitusyon na dapat lumikha ng isang mapagkakatiwalaan at mahusay na sistema ng edukasyon ang gobyerno at dapat na maglaan ng mataas na badyet para rito. Pero taliwas sa mga itinatadhanang ito ng Konstitusyon ang nangyayari sa kasalukuyan,” paliwanag ni Crisostomo.

Hindi naniniwala si Crisostomo na walang kakayahan ang gobyerno, partikular ang Ched, na kontrolin ang taas-matrikula sa pribadong mga paaralan.

Aniya, itinatadhana rin ng Konstitusyon ang pagbibigay-kapangyarihan sa gobyerno na pamahalaan at lagyan ng regulasyon ang umiiral na mga institusyong pang-edukasyon sa bansa.
“Mismong pinakamataas na batas sa bansa ang nagsasabing dapat kayang-kaya ng bulsa ng mga Pilipino ang pag-aaral sa kolehiyo. Pero mukhang malabo ito dahil sa palpak na mga patakaran ng gobyerno,” aniya pa.

Binibigyang-laya ng mga polisiya ng gobyerno tulad ng Education Act of 1982 at Higher Education Modernization Act of 1998 ang mga administrasyon ng mga SCU na magtaas ng matrikula. Pero bukod pa dito, mahihinuha ang direksiyong unti-unting tinutungo ng mga SCU – ang pagsasapribado ng edukasyon, tulad ng pagsasapribado sa ibang serbisyong panlipunan ng gobyerno.

Mababatid sa mga SCU tulad ng CMU ang direksiyong gustong tahakin ng gobyerno. Gusto nitong tularan ang pribadong mga pamantasan, na nagsasabing kailangang magtaas para maging “de-kalidad.” May iba pa sanang maaaring tularan, iba pang alternatibo ng libre pero de-kalidad na edukasyon (Basahin ang kaugnay na istorya), pero di na ito tinatanaw ng mga SCU. Nakapailalim sila sa pangkalahatang polisiya ng gobyernong Arroyo.

Ito ang lagay ng pulitikang pang-edukasyon sa bansa, ang uri ng pulitikang natutunan ni Au sa labas ng mga klase sa Political Science sa City of Malabon University.

Alternatibo ng de-kalidad – pero murang – edukasyon

Tulad ng idinedeklara ng Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas, idinedeklara rin ng Saligang Batas ng Germany na responsabilidad ng gobyerno na papag-aralin ang mga mamamayan nito.
Pero kaiba sa Pilipinas, tinototoo ng Germany ang deklarasyong ito. Mula sa kindergarten hanggang unibersidad, may mekanismo ang mga estado ng pederal na gobyerno ng Germany na magbigay ng edukasyon.

Opsiyonal ang kindergarten sa Germany — ibig sabihin, hindi kailangang kunin ng bata bago makapasok ng elementarya. Pero sa mga may gusto, may mga eskuwelahan ang mga estado na nakalaan sa mga batang may edad tatlo hanggang 10. Magmula siyam na taon, required nang pag-aralin ng mga magulang ang kanilang mga anak – na hindi naman kaso, dahil libre ito.

Mahigpit ang Germany sa polisiyang kailangang mag-aral ang mga bata sa regular na eskuwelahan. Kung may seryosong sakit o disabilidad lang ang bata pinapayagan siyang mapasailalim sa home schooling.

Tumatagal ng apat na taon (at anim sa Berlin) ang elementarya. Pag tuntong sa sekundaryong pag-aaral, naihahanay ang mga bata sa apat na uri ng eskuwelahan: (1) Gymnasium, para sa mga batang may espesyal na abilidad; (2) Realschule para sa mga nangangailangan ng malawak na saklaw ng pag-aaral; (3) Hauptschule para sa mga mag-aaral ng edukasyong bokasyonal; (4) Gesamtschule para sa mga batang kailangan ang kombinasyon ng naunang tatlong klase. Mayroon ding Förderschulen para sa mga batang may problema sa pag-iisip o kapansanan.

Matapos ang sekundaryong edukasyon, may opsiyon ang mga estudyante na pumaloob sa sistema ng apprenticeship na tinatawag na Duale Ausbildung kung saan sinasanay ang mga estudyanteng matanggap sa trabaho sa mga kompanya ng Estado.

Kung may sapat na kakayahan ang estudyante, nariyan ang opsiyon ng pagpasok sa pamantasan. Karamihan sa mga unibersidad sa Germany, pag-aari ng Estado – libre ang edukasyon at mangilan-ngilan lang ang pribado.

Kinikilala sa daigdig ang matagumpay at de-kalidad na sistema ng edukasyon sa Germany. Katunayan, sampu sa 200 kinikilalang pinakamahusay na pamantasan sa mundo ang matatagpuan sa bansang ito.

Mga magandang malaman sa edukasyong Pinoy

• 60 porsiyento, o anim sa sampung mag-aaral sa kolehiyo ang nasa pribadong paaralan
• Doble ang itinaas ng matrikula, sa kabuuan, nang maupo sa puwesto si Pang. Arroyo noong 2001
• Pinakamura pa ring mag-aral sa PUP: P12 kada yunit. Pero may dagdag-bayad: P250 para sa proyekto ng pagpapaganda sa paaralan
• Pinakamahal mag-aral sa University of Asia and the Pacific: P124,800 ang kailangang bayaran sa loob ng isang taon
• Pangalawa sa pinakamahal ang De La Salle University (bagaman mura ang ilang kaugnay nitong kolehiyo gaya ng nasa Antipolo, Rizal): P110,447.82 para sa isang taon (trimester kasi)
• Bagaman pimakamahal kada yunit ang mag-aral sa Ateneo de Manila (P2,517), “mura” pa ring mag-aral dito dahil kailangan mo lang magbayad ng P90,613 kada taon, para sa 18 yunit na full-term
• Mahal na ring mag-aral sa UP dahil P1,000 kada yunit na ang kailangang bayaran, o P36,000 para sa buong taon
• Ang matrikula ngayon sa UP ay mas mahal pa kaysa sa San Beda College (P786 kada yunit) at sa College of Holy Spirit sa Maynila (P903.91 kada yunit)
• Kaunti lang ang lamang — P100 lang — ng UP sa bayarin sa FEU (P1,100); P40 naman sa UE (P1,040); P72.90 sa UST (P1,072.90)
• Dahil sa taas ng matrikula sa ngayon, inaasahang sa bawat dalawang papasok ng kolehiyo, isa lang ang makakatapos.

Noel Sales Barcelona(PinoyWeekly)

State School Tuition to Match Private School Rates by 2010

June 11, 2008

The leader of a youth group, citing the Philippine government’s own Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), said that tuition in state schools will match that of private schools by 2010.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

The leader of a youth group, citing the Philippine government’s own Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), said that tuition in state schools will match that of private schools by 2010.

The plan prescribes the following targets for 2010: (1) the reduction of the number of SUCs by 20 percent; (2) the conversion of six SUCs to ‘semi-corporations;’ (3) the generation of income by 20 percent of SUCs through the sale of intellectual property rights and grants; (4) the establishment of active income-generating projects in 50 percent of SUCs; and (5) the collaboration with big business of 60 percent of SUCs.

One of the more controversial targets, according to Kabataang Pinoy chairman Dion Carlo Cerrafon, is the pegging of tuition rates at a level similar to that of private schools in 70 percent of state schools by 2010.

“These targets clearly go against present back-to-school government posturing on public tertiary education.”

He said incessant hikes in tuition in state schools, particularly at the University of the Philippines (UP), are clear indicators of the government’s resolve to meet the LTHEDP’s targets by 2010.

“Most state schools have already implemented the plan by increasing their internally-generated funds (IGF) through the privatization of auxiliary services and other revenue projects in the university. A number of SUCS, like UP and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), have already entered into joint ventures with profit-oriented entrepreneurs and big businesses, as already evident in the new ‘science and technology’ park being built in UP property Commonwealth avenue and call center offices and training center in PUP main campus,” he explained.

He added that in two separate memoranda by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 1999 and 2000, 86 CHED supervised institutions (CSI) have been or are in the process of being integrated into SUCS. In six year, the number of SUCs was reduced by 154, from 264 in 1998 to 111 in 2004.

“LTHEDP slowly transforms state schools into efficient income earning entities with the long-term goal of making them self-reliant capable of running their institutions without government subsidy.

“Such policy not only justifies state abandonment of its responsibility to educate young Filipinos, but it also serves as the basis for schools to engage in money-making activities like joint ventures with corporations, selling of intellectual properties and other assets, income-generating projects, tuition adjustment and imposition of new fees. This ensures corporate dominance even in public education, making tertiary education the province of the elite,” Cerrafon pointed out.

“Unless we begin investing more on education and start reversing education policies that encourage commercialization, we will continue to see more students leaving college because of high fees and poverty,” he said. Bulatlat

More Students Transfer from Private to State Schools

June 11, 2008

But fee hikes, limited slots force transferees to dropout, says youth group

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from the private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

Citing recent trends in enrollment, youth group Kabataang Pinoy revealed that due to the rising cost of education, more and more students enrolled in private higher education institutions are either forced to transfer to state schools or find themselves dropping out altogether.

Records from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) show that in 1980, only 10 percent of college students were studying in state schools. By 1994, the number went up to 21 percent and at present already accounts for almost 40 percent of the country’s tertiary-level student population.

“But many of these transferees will find themselves dropping out of college. The problem is, there are no more rooms in state schools either,” Kabataang Pinoy President Dion Carlo Cerrafon said.

“State universities and colleges (SUCs) are confronted by similar problems. Poor education spending and annual budget cutbacks force state schools to impose enrolment quotas and increase fees, forcing many state scholars to leave,” he added.
As a result, Cerrafon said, access to public higher education institutions, which is the last resort for students who want to obtain a college degree, has become impossible to many college hopefuls.

“While it is true that SUCs offer tuition lower than private schools, tuition rate and miscellaneous fees in state schools and universities have seen the biggest increases in recent years, thus making SUC education also inaccessible to ordinary students,” he explained.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) increased its tuition by 300 percent, from P300 ($6.50 at last year’s average exchange rate of $1:P46.15) to P1,000 ($21.67) per unit.

Another state institution, the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) in Manila, implemented a 600-percent tuition hike, resulting in a 50-percent drop in enrollment last school year. From last year’s P15 ($0.32) per unit, EARIST now charges P100 ($2.27 at the June 6 exchange rate of $1:P44.14) per unit. Laboratory fees also increased from P25 ($0.54 at 2007 rate) to P500 ($11.33 at June 6 rate).

The Philippine Normal University (PNU) had already increased its tuition by 400 percent in 2003.

The country’s biggest state school in terms of population, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), was also poised to hike its tuition by 525 percent last year but was forced to shelve its plan due to massive student protests. It would have increased tuition from P12.50 ($0.27 at 2007 rate) to P75 ($1.62) per unit.

Cerrafon said state schools are also forced to accept only a limited number of students due to budget cuts.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) Office of Admissions said some 66,000 high school graduates all over the country applied for the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT). But only an average of 12,000 applicants are admitted each year. For example, some 14,000 applicants on the average seek to enter the UP College of Nursing but only 70 or 0.5 percent are admitted.

The same goes with PUP. PUP has 16 branches and extensions in Luzon and each unit conducts its own PUPCET (Polytechnic University of the Philippines College Entrance Test). In PUP’s main campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila, more than 50,000 thousand students take up the entrance test every year but only 10 to 13 thousand on the average are admitted. One of the lowest passing rates in PUPCET history was recorded in 2006, when only 7,357 examinees passed the entrance test.

Cerrafon added that the increases in tuition and other fees would certainly have an effect on the enrolment of poor but deserving students coming from the provinces.

“Rising fees will certainly daunt bright students from depressed and remote areas of the country from enrolling in UP or other big state schools and eventually force them to settle for poorly-maintained state colleges in the provinces or worse, give up their college dream.”

Studies from private think-tanks and international organizations show the effects of rising cost of education, even in public higher education institutions. In June 2004, the Wallace report pegged college dropout rate at a staggering all-time high of 73 percent. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines, on the other hand, reported a measly 22-percent overall student survival rate from 1st to 4th year college. Bulatlat

Garcia passing on GSIS “system losses” to members

May 31, 2008

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS

2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St. , Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City , Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@ yahoo.com Website http://www.actphils. com
Member, Education International
May 30, 2008
NEWS RELEASE
Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson
Garcia passing on GSIS “system losses” to members
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers today denounced Government Service Insurance System President and General Manager Winston Garcia for passing on the pension fund’s “system losses” to its members. ACT made the statement on the eve of the GSIS’s 71st anniversary on May 31.
“While he’s busy plotting the takeover of Meralco using our hard-earned pension funds, Garcia refuses to heed the widespread clamor against his own policies in GSIS,” said ACT chairperson Antonio Tinio.
Garcia is leading a controversial bid to take control of Meralco, the country’s largest electricity distributor. GSIS holds a 23% share in the utility firm. Public school teachers make up nearly one-third of the state pension fund’s 1.6 million members.
Tinio pointed out that one of the issues raised by Garcia against Meralco, the highly unpopular practice of charging system losses to consumers, may also be attributed to the GSIS.
In the electric power industry, system loss refers to electricity lost due to technical inefficiency or pilferage. The anti-electricity pilferage law (R.A. 7832) allows private utilities to charge up to 9.5% of their system losses to consumers.
ACT likened the GSIS policy of recovering unpaid premiums from its members through deductions from the benefits due them to Meralco’s practice of charging system losses to consumers. “Garcia should look in the mirror first. He has been charging the system losses of GSIS to its members ever since he introduced his notorious ‘premium-based policy’ in 2003,” said Tinio.
Under the premium-based policy, the benefits of GSIS members are computed and paid out based on the actual premium payments received by the GSIS. Before its adoption in 2003, GSIS benefits were based on a member’s years of service.
“Through the premium-based policy, lost revenues of GSIS due to their failure to collect premium payments, failure of government agencies to remit premium payments, or due to corruption are recovered from GSIS members in the form of huge deductions from the retirement and other benefits due them,” explained Tinio. “This onerous policy is the centerpiece of the much-vaunted reforms introduced by Garcia in 2003, which he credits with transforming the GSIS into a profitable concern. This is also at the root of the widespread discontent among public school teachers and other members of the GSIS, since they know only to well that the profits of GSIS are being made at their expense.”
Tinio cited as an example the shortfall in government-share premium payments from 1997 to the first half of 1998 due to the national government’s failure to allocate sufficient funds in the General Appropriations Act. “GSIS lost income because Congress failed to appropriate the correct amount for premium payments. Unfortunately, due to Garcia’s premium-based policy, the unpaid premiums plus compounded interest charges were automatically deducted from the benefits of GSIS members, including thousands of retirees, from 2003 onwards.
“What makes this policy unjust is that by law, the ordinary members have no control whatsoever in the collection and remittance of GSIS premiums,” said Tinio. “For instance, it’s not our fault that Congress failed to appropriate enough funds in 1997-98. It’s not our fault that up to now, GSIS cannot reconcile its records with the Department of Education. As far as we’re concerned, GSIS deductions are taken from our salaries every month. Whether or not these deductions are actually received by GSIS is ultimately the responsibility of GSIS. Garcia’s premium-based policy penalizes the members for GSIS’s failure to collect whether due to inefficiency, incompetence, or corruption.”
Tinio added that the premium-based policy was not only immoral but illegal. “Unlike the system loss charges of the electric utilities which are allowed by law, Garcia’s premium-based policy violates the GSIS law.”  He noted that Republic Act 8291 mandates that members’ benefits shall be computed based on years of service rendered, not the amount of premium paid. Moreover, the law also provides a government guarantee that members shall receive their benefits in full as and when they fall due.
ACT called for the immediate scrapping of the premium-based policy and the full refund with interest of deductions made against their benefits from 2003 to the present. #