In a media forum held this morning in Quezon City, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio gave Pres. Benigno Aquino III a failing mark for his first year in office for failing to adequately address poverty and worsening the crisis in education.
Tinio cited a recent Pulse Asia survey in which the President received low approval ratings on the issues of reducing poverty and controlling inflation.
“While PNoy received high approval ratings on such issues as fighting crime (60%), enforcing the law equally among Filipinos (57%), and improving the peace situation (57%), he received conspicuously low approval ratings on what the administration was doing to control inflation at 39% and its campaign to reduce poverty at 40%.”
“These are literally the gut issues for the majority of Filipinos. The survey indicates that for a clear majority of Filipinos, PNoy has failed to effectively improve their economic well-being. This is the bottom line, and Filipinos find the Aquino administration wanting,” said Tinio.
Turning to education, Tinio asserted that the crisis in education has markedly worsened in the one year that Pres. Aquino has been in office. “In his platform of government, the so-called ‘Social Contract with the People,’ PNoy claimed that his government would make education ‘the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness.’ This was clearly belied by the conditions revealed when the new school year opened earlier this month.”
“The previous administration’s legacy of gross shortages of teachers, classrooms, textbooks, and other resources has been dramatically worsened by this administration’s implementation of universal kindergarten without adequate funding and preparation,” he explained. “Nearly one million additional school children have been admitted into the public school system without adequately providing the necessary resources, sacrificing quality and violating the rights of students and teachers.”
Tinio described the Department of Education’s deployment of up to 40,000 kindergarten teachers, who will be paid a mere P3,000 per month as “volunteers,” as a “serious attack on the rights of teachers.” “In one year in office, the Aquino administration has managed to erode the professional status of teachers to an unprecedentedly low level.”
“For these reasons, we give PNoy a ‘Fail,’” he concluded.