Legislator scores Aquino’s ‘neglect’ of teachers

A LEGISLATOR representing the education sector slammed President Aquino for prioritizing “poor” economies in Europe instead of the salary upgrading of the teachers in the wake of his administration pledge to contribute $1 billion to the International Monetary Fund’s emergency pool.

“Mr. Aquino again displayed the utmost insensitivity to the education sector.  Our country pays its kindergarten teachers P3,000 a month, and its class sizes sometimes bulge to 70 students per classroom. Our public-school teachers are themselves drowning in debt because their salaries cannot keep up with the rising costs of living. Why would our President extend loans to countries whose kinder teachers are paid around five times more than ours receive, whose class sizes are sometimes 15 to a teacher?” Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers asked.

Based on the latest Reference Exchange Rate issued by the Bangko Sentral, the pledge amounts to P42.26 billion.

Tinio says that the contribution to the kitty, allegedly for crisis prevention and resolution and to meet the potential financing needs of IMF members, works as a loan for countries mostly in Europe, currently experiencing economic crisis.

Tinio said the P42.26 billion could have translated into a 16.3-percent increase in the ceiling set by the Department of Budget and Management for the Department of Education’s appropriations in 2013.

“It could have funded additional resources to run his K+12 program effectively and with respect to the rights and welfare of teachers and students.  Aquino gave up sufficient allocations for the Universal Kindergarten Education, including P4,453,070,980 for the regularization and bonuses of 20,000 Kinder teachers and about P23.6  billion for 34,500 classrooms nationwide,” said Tinio.