ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio called on the Aquino government to ensure the prompt payment of thousands of kindergarten teachers hired by the Department of Education on a contractual basis, who have not been paid since January.
Contractual teachers hired by the DepEd to teach kindergarten receive a monthly honorarium of up to Php 6,000 per month. This is below the minimum wage and much less than the Php 15,649 basic monthly salary of regular public school teachers.
“We received reports from kindergarten teachers in Davao City and Rizal province that they have not been paid for the last three months. This is totally unacceptable and a gross violation of their rights,” said Tinio. “We condemn these delays in payment, which robs kindergarten teachers of their dignity as professionals, and call for the immediate payment of their back wages.”
After receiving complaints from teachers in Davao City, Tinio referred the matter to the DepEd Region XI Director Susan Estigoy, who said that she would discuss the issue with Davao City Schools Division Superintendent Helen Paguican.
Subsequently, Director Estigoy explained that the Department of Budget and Management only released the Special Allotment Release Order for their honoraria in mid-March and that, according to Superintendent Paguican, the cash was expected to be available starting today (April 6). Actual payment of the honoraria should therefore be expected shortly.
“We call on the kindergarten teachers in Davao City and elsewhere to vigorously demand the immediate payment of what is their due,” said Tinio.
Tinio noted that the delay in payments seems to be due to problems in the processing of the honoraria at DBM and DepEd central office. “There were similar problems last year, which caused a six-month delay in the payment of teachers. We were hoping that the problems have been ironed out by now, but evidently they haven’t. Unfortunately, it’s the teachers that suffer.”
Tinio warned that this could be the plight of tens of thousands more contractual kindergarten teachers once the DepEd implements universal kindergarten education in June. “We can expect more of this same situation starting next June, if these problems are not addressed.”
The ACT Teachers representative vowed that he would push for the regularization of contractual kindergarten teachers and their inclusion in the coverage of the Salary Standardization Law.#