Home » News

ADMU Chapter Denounces A Teacher Party-list’s Opposition to a Provision of the Magna Carta for Women

3 May 2010 No Comment

(Originally posted on September 2, 2009)


The ACT Teachers Party-List, Ateneo de Manila University Chapter, strongly denounces A Teacher Party-List Rep. Ulpiano Sarmiento III’s opposition to the provision of the Magna Carta for Women prohibiting schools and companies from dismissing or refusing to accept pregnant women or those who got pregnant out of wedlock. Sarmiento’s stance against this provision is an outright display of discrimination against women. His argument that Catholic institutions can invoke their right to preserve the morality of their communities and to exercise their “academic freedom” betrays his idea of education and livelihood as contingent upon a person’s “purity.” Education and employment are basic rights that cannot and should not be denied to anyone. His argument also exposes his ignorance of the state of the country’s education sector, and the significant contribution of women teachers who make up 80 percent of all teachers nationwide.

And what about male employees and students who engage in extramarital sex? Sarmiento suggests that men who engage in extramarital sex be banned from Catholic institutions as well, for equality’s sake. So, how are we going to do this? Ask every male employee/student to make a public declaration and take his word for it? Sarmiento fails to see that imposing barriers such as these are prejudicial only to women primarily because there is “material evidence” to prove their supposed “promiscuity” whereas this does not apply to the opposite sex.

And then again, if standards of Catholic morality can be used as a way to prevent immoral people from gaining access to Catholic institutions, then why single-out pregnancy out of wedlock? Why should pre-marital sex be seen as a graver offense than, for example, stealing, laziness, or corruption? Students or employees caught stealing things, dozing off in the classroom and the workplace, or using public funds for personal gain, are reprimanded and not immediately dismissed. If Sarmiento believes that those who engage in extramarital sex are doing something immoral, wouldn’t he be better off convincing Catholic institutions to accept them and guide them towards morality instead of treating them like criminals? Even criminals are not rejected by society but are reformed through correctional facilities. While Jesus Christ himself has found virtue in a prostitute despite her acts, Sarmiento emphasizes the supposed “immorality” of a pregnant woman out of wedlock. Such a conservative attitude is a reversal of the democratic rights that women have fought for throughout history. Such a twisted view on education belies his pretensions as a representative of educators.

By opposing the Magna Carta for Women, A Teacher Party-List fails to recognize basic issues confronting the Philippine education sector and women teachers in general such as low state allocation for education, poor working conditions, and low salaries for teachers. Their opposition exacerbates the problems teachers are already confronting.

ACT Teachers Party-List, Ateneo de Manila University Chapter



Comments are closed.