By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Public school teachers modified the traditional Flores de Mayo to bring attention to their plight in this time of distance learning.
Wearing gowns and adorned with flower arches, six teachers paraded around the Department of Education (DepEd) compound this morning, May 28. They bore the foll titles representing the woes of public teachers:
Reyna Abonada – who shoulders the operational expenses of remote learning such as internet connectivity costs;
Reyna Alay – who are forced to brave the dangers of COVID-19 just to deliver education to poor students
Reyna Pinaasa – whose benefits are long overdue;
Reyna Walang Pahinga – who has been working for 12 months straight without due pay nor leave benefits.
Reyna Haggarda – who is overburdened with the extreme demands of education amid multiple crises;
Reyna Poorita – who is hardly surviving the pandemic and economic crisis due to meager salaries.
Raymond Basilio, secretary general of Alliance of Concerned Teachers said that for the last 260 days, public school teachers have shouldered the responsibilities of the government in delivering accessible quality education.
Basilio said the lack of support for public school teachers has forced them to spend their salaries on distance learning expenses “while the Duterte regime continues to fall short on its promised substantial pay hike to teachers.”
“Our teachers and our learners alike suffered the effects of state abandonment even as we ourselves are grappling with the raging pandemic and economic crisis. How long will the DepEd and the Duterte regime turn a blind eye to the needs of the education sector?” Basilio said in a statement.
Basilio added that DepEd “is yet to respond to their demand for overtime pay for the extra 77 days that teachers are made to work under the extended school year and more grueling tasks in distance learning.”
He lamented that a significant number of teachers are made to report to school almost daily and made to conduct home visitations without health protection or sick leave. The promise to provide laptops and internet load remains unfulfilled, and their performance-based bonus for 2019 has not yet been released.