/ 19 January 2021

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers urged President Rodrigo Duterte to augment the funds of the Department of Education to enable it to give full service recognition incentive to teachers and other personnel.

It made the call following the announcement of Education Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla that the department’s  savings can only give 50 percent to 60 percent of the mandated service recognition incentive.

President Duterte authorized the grant of a uniform P10,000 SRI to all civilian and uniformed personnel starting December 21, 2020. The money will be sourced from the unspent funds of agencies.

The DepEd however announced that it can only give P5,000 to P6,000.

“Delayed na, kulang pa! Is this how the Duterte government appreciates the service of our teachers,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

Basilio said that teachers are getting “insult after insult” from the government, citing that the news on insufficient SRI came after teachers complained of the “equally inadequate and difficult to avail” P300 per month communication expense reimbursement for March to December 2020.

“For months, our teachers bore the learning continuity expenses — from module printing to cellphone load, internet expenses and increased electric bills. They definitely don’t deserve an impossible expense reimbursement process or halved recognition of their sacrifices,” Basilio said.

He also cited the loophole in the President’s order “that allows for the unequal grant of the SRI.” He said that it allows the grant of a lower amount if agency savings are insufficient.

“Luging-lugi ang mga guro sa ganitong kalakaran. With DepEd’s enormous workforce, inadequate funding, and humongous expenses in the shift to distance learning that even forced teachers to shell out their own money, what savings does the Duiterte government expect from the agency?” Basilio asserted.

ACT shared that teachers are gearing up for a series of protest activities to assert their appeal to the government to give priority to education workers’ welfare.

“Our teachers are getting demoralized and restive with the string of unfair treatment the education sector is getting from the Duterte government. Sana’y huwag nang hintayin pa ng gobyernong ito na mapuno ang mga guro,” Basilio warned.