In Cebu, Teachers Struggle to Teach and Survive Despite Violations of Their Rights

“Before, the family would receive assistance money right there and then. Plus they will be entitled to survivorship pension even if the employee was not able to reach three years in government service,” he said. “Now, you don’t get assistance money, and if the deceased did not reach three years in government service, his family will not receive any pension.”

He further claims that even the application of loans by teachers has been denied, often given the excuse that the database is still being reconciled or that the system is offline. “This reconciliation of records has been going on since Garcia took office,” he said. “Under Garcia’s management, the system had adapted and implemented an unfair scheme.”

Alterado admitted that because of the meager salary of teachers they have to live on loans in order to meet their family’s daily needs and to send their children to school. But today, with the oppressive schemes of GSIS, they no longer have anyone to help them.

“Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan came up with a bill asking for a P9,000 increase in salary for teachers,” Alterado continued. “But the administration recommended another scheme that lowered it to P6,500!”

“The bill was instead consolidated with the Salary Standardization Law III which unfairly grants lower salary increases to the low ranking government workers, who need the increase most. Instead, elected officials, cabinet members, department directors, supervisors and other high ranking officials, on the other hand, will be receiving the biggest increase,” he explained.

Executive Order 180

Alterado also pointed out that even the teachers’ right to organize has been compromised by officials of the department, who instead are promoting the membership of teachers to organizations that they control.

“Executive Order 180 allows government workers to unionize,” said Alterado. “We have invoked this law in order for us to go to schools and recruit new members, but what is happening now is that the administrators of the department are the ones choosing for the teachers which organization to join.”

Alterado related their experience with then Cebu City Schools Superintendent Woodrow Denoyo who did not allow ACT to go school-hopping to organizer teachers, saying that ACT does not represent the true sentiments of the teachers. “He said that all we do is speak against the administration, but why should we be mum about the questionable transactions entered into by these administrators?” he asked.

Alterado said that they later found out that Denoyo was pushing for the teachers to instead seek membership in the professional organization for teachers, which in essence is not a union.

When the new Cebu City Schools Superintendent Lorna Rances replaced Denoyo, Alterado’s group again asked for a dialog, of which Rances refused to grant, giving reasons that baffled the group. Instead, Rances forced Assistant Cebu City Schools Superintendent Salustiano Jimenez to face them, who in turn had no authority to grant their request.

In the end, through constant badgering, ACT’s request to visit schools was eventually granted through a letter from Rances. “She never faced us in person,” he said.

Share This Post