In The News
27 June 2016
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
Citing testimonies of faculty in public and private colleges and senior high school teachers, ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio revealed that, far from being the “best school opening ever,” the start of School Year 2016-2017 highlighted the fact that the K to 12 Program of the Aquino administration resulted in mass termination and displacement, diminution of salaries and benefits, and widespread contractualization of teachers and other school employees.
Tinio said that, at a recent consultation with his office, representatives of public and private colleges and universities confirmed the mass removal of faculty, contractualization, and government’s failure to deliver its promised assistance to affected employees.
Faculty of Miriam College reported that 21 tenured professors in General Education were forced to resign under its Early Separation Program, touted by the school as “voluntary.” It is now implementing a Mandatory Separation Program for its GE instructors and professors. Meanwhile, the University of Santo Tomas laid off a number of its part-time and fixed-term faculty, allegedly due to “end of contract,” then told them to reapply in its SHS program. The school also still hired new faculty for college, belying the school’s claim of lack of enrollment and confirming the teachers’ view that the school removed them only to prevent them from getting tenured and to cut on labor costs. The UST faculty fear more layoffs in the coming two to three years.
Tinio also revealed that the dismissed faculty cannot avail of the scholarship or livelihood assistance under the Augmented Measures Program from DOLE, belying the recent statement of outgoing Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz who claimed that DOLE will help teachers displaced by K to 12. The faculty that Tinio consulted said that DOLE requires proof that the teachers were dismissed by reason of K to 12, a fact not admitted by school administrations which issue certifications stating “end of contract” as ground for dismissal. As result, DOLE has yet to sufficiently protect the estimated 23,000 K to 12 affected employees. Per Baldoz, DOLE has already given scholarship grants to a little more than 4,000 teachers.
Tinio added that faculty and teachers are now experiencing drastically reduced pay, with DepEd hiring some of the dismissed teachers as Teacher I, a position paid only P19,077 a month. Some of them were previously earning monthly salaries of around P40,000, and/or have masteral or doctoral degrees with long years of service. This is contrary to what Secretary Armin Luistro promised during public congressional hearings—that these displaced teachers will be hired as Master Teachers (minimum of P33,452).
Private SHSs, on the other hand, are reported to hire most, if not all, of SHS teachers as low-paid contractuals. For instance, all teachers of CEU Integrated School were made to sign one-page contracts stating that they will only be hired for three years, as contractual and non-tenured. The contracts can be terminated at the end of the three years, or earlier if the teacher is rated lower than Very Satisfactory.
“K to 12 brought into our schools the practice of ‘endo’ used by employers like factories or malls, which hire laborers for fixed short terms such as six months, with little or no benefits, then repeatedly rehired to cut on labor costs,” Tinio lamented. “With these reports coming directly from our affected faculty, we have seen that K to 12 is an assault on job security, the right to decent salary and benefits, and other rights of labor. This is ironic because while Duterte vowed to put an end to contractualization, it is now becoming widespread in the education sector.”
Tinio said that his group and the affected faculty will be seeking dialogues with the incoming secretaries of education, labor, and higher education in the coming days to demand them to address these issues. They will also be pursuing measures against the Aquino government to exact accountability for its failure to deliver its promises to the K to 12-affected employees.
Tinio also urged the incoming Duterte administration to review the implementation of Aquino’s K to 12 by going down to the field and surveying the actual conditions in public and private senior high schools. “We invite President-elect Duterte and his appointed secretaries to sit down with the affected stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and students who can attest to the disaster that is K to 12.” ###
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14 January 2016
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)