/ 21 August 2020

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers Private Schools reiterated its demands for substantial and humane government assistance to all pandemic-affected private school teachers and personnel nationwide.

On August 13, 2020, the group submitted a petition paper before Congress to demand dignified financial aid to teachers and personnel who were heavily impacted by the pandemic due to the prevalent “No Work No Pay” scheme, and subsidy to private education institutions to prevent further retrenchments especially in medium-sized schools.

These demands constitute the proposed significant chunk of the Bayanihan 2, with P24 billion for dignified financial aid alone.

However, the House version of the bill only proposes to allocate P300 million which will be shared by all affected teaching and non-teaching personnel both in private and public schools in basic (elementary and secondary) and tertiary education level.

In numbers, only 37,500 to 60,000 personnel are expected to serve as beneficiaries, should the government decide to give a one-time cash assistance of P5,000 to P8,000 from the proposed funding.

This allocation is deemed beyond inadequate, as it is not capable of providing inclusive and effective financial support programs even on the current figures of damage to the sector, according to Jonathan Geronimo, the group’s secretary general.

“For over five months of militarized lockdown, numerous households from the affected sector of education have received no financial support from the government and are now starving out of poverty. Most of them are forced to do sideline jobs which are typically susceptible for Covid19 infection. With all these unnecessary compromises, they are only left but a pittance which can’t barely support their necessities” Geronimo said.

Statistics showed 407, 757 teachers and staff were affected during the first month of the enhanced community quarantine. Furthermore, low enrollment percentage this school year prompted massive layoffs of academic personnel. A total of 119,819 private school teachers from 17 regions were retrenched last June.

The numbers are expected to rise in the following months due to the growing economic slump.

The group also requested for a six-month financial assistance to all affected private school personnel amounting to P10,000 and a four-month wage subsidy program to private education institutions, shouldering half (P15,554) of the nationwide family living wage (P31,089) declared by IBON Foundation, an independent think-tank in the Philippines.