From Muntinlupa to Manila, a controversial school superintendent has been met by teachers’ protests.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – “We don’t want her here!”
Public school teachers of Manila want the new Schools Division Superintendent Priscilla De Sagun out of their division. They decried the violation of their democratic and economic rights as De Sagun implemented a background investigation for teachers under promotion.
Aracelli De Ocampo, a kindergarten teacher in L. Geronimo School said that in her 38 years in service, she was not subjected to any background investigation when she was promoted from Teacher 1 up to Master Teacher 2. She said their former superintendent Dr. Corazon Rubio did not implement such policy and even approved all promotion of teachers.
“This is very unfair for teachers who undergo arduous examination and provide all paper work needed, which is very taxing,” De Ocampo said in their short protest action at the Division Office on Feb 24.
De Sagun was the previous superintendent of Muntinlupa City where she also earned the ire of the teachers. She was re-assigned to Manila after Rubio retired from service last year.
Louie Zabala, president of the Manila Public School Teachers Association, said the background investigation of teachers under promotion was arbitrary.
“Nothing in any Department of Education order nor from the Civil Service Commission supports De Sagun’s background investigation policy. This is illegal and arbitrary,” said Zabala. He added it is only under De Sagun that the teachers for promotion will undergo such investigation.
Teachers also questioned the process of the background investigation.
“They only ask the co-teachers of the person who is under promotion. What if those teachers have ill feelings for her? Her promotion now is imperiled regardless of her performance as a teacher,” said Michael Molo, a teacher from Avanceña High School.
Bess Rivera, a teacher from Manila Science High School said De Sagun’s policy is anti-teacher. “She (De Sagun) cannot say that this is her prerogative. This is plain abuse of authority. And if she will not rescind this policy we will not hesitate to act and remove her from office.”
Zabala said in De Sagun’s two months in office, she has not only implemented the background investigation but the Saturday classes as well.
The Saturday class was implemented in early January of this year, Zabala said.
This was to make up for the holidays during Pope Francis’ visit in the Philippines. However, the teachers protested because they were not consulted. Due to the teachers’ protest, De Sagun and the teachers have come to an agreement to hold Saturday class only when needed.
Zabala said the Saturday class is also an anti-teacher policy because it is the day where they can have a break from work. “This is also a day for students to have time with their families and rest after five days of school.”