/ 20 February 2021

MEMBERS of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers held a protest action in front of the Department of Education to demand accountability and solutions to their woes.

The activity was the culmination of the group’s “Isang Linggong Pag-ibig” campaign to demand ample government attention and support to the education sector.

“Our education system is like an abandoned child amid the pandemic, left on its own to survive and is barely keeping it together. Students are barely learning under the poorly-funded and ill-equipped distance learning, with teachers bearing the brunt and even shelling out their own money despite low salaries and delayed and insufficient benefits,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

Basilio asked the government to address the “alarming state of education” swiftly.

He urged President Rodrigo Duterte to allocate a supplemental budget of P120 billion to basic public education for the preparation of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.

The group also asked the government to provide for the needs of distance learning “to prevent the further backsliding of education.”

“The government’s meager education budget for 2021 would only let us continue with our dire situation. This is unacceptable, same with the President’s directive to wait for his uncertain and delayed vaccines before the resumption of in-classroom learning, as the social cost would be too high,” Basilio said.

He also called the government’s attention to the mounting economic woes of teachers who have yet to receive their internet allowance.

“Apart from being stressed and burned out from the burgeoning tasks under distance learning, economic concerns further demoralize our teachers. They are fast becoming disillusioned with the Duterte government who promised them with doubled salaries during the 2016 presidential campaign,” Basilio said.