Teachers receiving ‘timely’ benefits and compensations a blatant lie – ACT 16 June 2021

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called out Secretary of Education, Leonor Briones on her ‘lies’ during the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Laging Handa public briefing on Tuesday, where Briones stated that teachers have been receiving their allowances and compensation in a ‘timely’ manner and that the DepEd has no ‘shortcomings’ when it comes to teachers’ benefits.

ACT rebutted that teachers’ benefits are not only ‘overly delayed’ but are also inadequate, and that the agency not only have ‘shortcomings’ but is heavily in debt to teachers due to continuous government neglect.

“Paano nila naaatim magsinungaling nang harap-harapan sa ating mga guro? Benefits delayed are benefits denied, and to say that teachers are receiving theirs on time is such a blatant lie. It is already hard enough for our teachers who must suffer the brunt of the government’s incompetence, the least the agency could do is own up and take responsibility for its shortcomings instead lying,” blasted Raymond Basilio, ACT Secretary General.

With ‘measly’ salaries, overdue of benefits, and out-of-pocket expenses for distance learning, teachers are often forced to take loans and ‘side jobs’ to survive the worsening economic crisis amidst the pandemic.

The much-awaited Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) 2019, which is supposed to incentivized eligible performances with 65% of the employees’ monthly salary, has taken more than a year before the DepEd was able to comply with the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) requirements and has only been recently approved for release this week.

Meanwhile, the 100 gigabytes connectivity load for teachers and personnel, which DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del Pascua promised last March, has yet to be released.

While it was only this year that the Php300 monthly communication expenses reimbursement for the months of 2020 were released, with majority of teachers have yet to receive theirs.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio also admitted in a Congress hearing last May that the agency-prepared modules for the 3rd and 4th grading period could not be used this school year due to late printing.

Teachers had to shoulder the responsibility for module reproduction and distribution at the start of the school year due to the government’s implementation of a ‘half-baked’ distance learning program.

“Napakahaba na ng listahan ng utang ng gobyerno sa ating mga guro! Our teachers always go beyond what is asked for the sake of education, but that does not mean we would sit idly and just watch as the government take advantage of our teachers’ dedication to their profession,” warned Basilio.

Basilio added that among the list of the government’s ‘debts’ to teachers is the grant of the Php1,500 monthly internet allowance, 77 days service credit and 25% overtime pay for the excessive workdays in the current school year, and Duterte’s 5-year long overdue promise of a justifiable salaries upgrade.

“Alam at nararamdaman ng ating mga guro ang pagpapabaya ng gobyerno sa sektor ng edukasyon, at hindi kami magpapaloko sa mga kasinungalingan nito. We’ve had enough of the government’s lies and deceit, and we will charge the Duterte administration for its debts,” concluded Basilio.