“We needed the approval because according to EO 180, any organizing that we do should be done on official time,” he explained, adding that the approval would give them an excuse to pull the teachers out of their class for several minutes in order for them to be educated of their rights.
He added that the approval however was still not favorable for the group as the time given to them was an hour prior to dismissal. “This time is not conducive for a meeting because the teachers would already be rushing to go home,” he said.
Despite these challenges, Alterado said that ACT continues to exert all effort to arouse and organize the teachers in order to empower them to fight the countless of abuses of their rights.
“Majority of teachers do not even know that they are already being abused. There are a lot of abuses and it has become ingrained in the institution, to the point that these abuses have become a part of the culture of the teachers,” said Alterado.
“This is where the problem lies. Because it has become a culture, the teachers who are being abused do not bother to complain. They do not know their rights,” he continued.
Alterado said that by law teachers only need six hours of continuous classroom teaching, and if it extends more than that, they are entitled to an overtime pay. “The teachers no longer claim this overtime pay because they were made to believe its ‘exigency of service’,” he said.
Alterado is concerned that should the teachers be overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated, this would create a feeling of discontentment, which could be passed over to the students, manifesting in the student’s low performance in particular and generally, the sector’s failing mark.
“We will continue to go to different schools and disseminate information on teachers rights to our uninformed teachers, hoping that in the long run they would come to realize the importance of having a united voice,” said Alterado.
Seventy percent of public school teachers in Cebu Province are members of the ACT. In Cebu City, their membership has reached 1,000 with chapters in 14 different schools in the city. (Bulatlat.com)