ACT GRANTS DUTERTE, BRIONES ‘KALABASA’ AWARD
THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers on Wednesday conferred the “Kalabasa Award” on President Rodrigo Duterte and Education Secretary Leonor Briones during a protest outside the Department of Education building.
The group demanded accountability for the “worst education crisis brought about by their ineptitude.”
It slammed the Duterte-Briones tandem for their “poor performance that caused a serious backslide in education access and quality, while teachers’ salaries, benefits and rights were grossly neglected and violated.”
“Naririto kami para singilin ang gobyernong Duterte sa kapabayaan at kapalpakan sa edukasyon. Pinatindi lamang ng kanyang administrasyon ang malaon nang krisis sa edukasyon. Nararanasan natin ang rurok nito ngayon habang mahigit isang taon nang nakakandado ang mga eskwelahan, milyon-milyong kabataan ang hindi nag-aaral, bagsak ang kalidad ng pagkatuto, at nagdurusa sa dami ng trabaho at kakapusan ng suweldo at benepisyo ang mga guro at kawani,” Vladimer Quetua, ACT-National Capital Region Union president, said.
Quetua lamented the “miserable state of education,” citing the 1.1 million unenrolled students in the past school year that added up to 3.5 million out-of-school youth pre-pandemic.
Citing a survey from Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality and Relevant Education, he said about four to six in every 10 students lagged behind in distance learning.
“Pinilit naming mga guro, mga magulang, at mga estudyante na itawid ang school year nang kami-kami lang. Mula sa mga mali-mali at kulang-kulang na mga modules, barya-baryang internet at communication allowance, kawalan ng mga laptops at printers. Pero hindi ito sasapat dahil wala ang kailangang badyet at suporta mula sa pamahalaan,” Quetua said.
He demanded accountability for Duterte’s failed promise to double the salaries of teachers, as well as for the government’s failure to grant timely and adequate benefits such as overtime pay, the Service Recognition Incentive, Performance-Based Bonus, monthly communication expenses reimbursement, and monthly internet allowance to teachers.
“Teachers work very hard to deliver education, we always go beyond what is asked of us because we know the value of our service. The least Duterte and Briones can do is pay us right, ensure we can afford decent standards of living, grant us our benefits,” Quetua said.
ACT also raised the issue of job security as more than 1,600 Senior High School teachers who were hired on probationary status could lose their jobs because of the expiration of their appointments.