/ 31 October 2020

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers said that distance learning has greatly dented the income of teachers because of the expenses that they personally shouldered.

The group claimed that ground reports show that for October, some teachers spent a minimum of P4,000 for those who did not purchase devices, and up to P30,000 for those who bought laptops and printers.

“The Duterte government is essentially stealing food away from the mouths of our teachers and their families as it abandons its duty of financing public education. This very wrong and unfair practice should stop,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

ACT’s inquiry among teachers regarding their out-of-pocket expenses for distance learning showed that those with online classes incurred hefty expenses for the purchase of laptops, headsets, and microphones as well as internet bill or data load.

Those facilitating modular learning on the other hand are spent for laptop, cellphone load, printer, ink, bond paper, stapler, staple wires, plastic envelopes and materials for module tags.

ACT also cited the high transportation costs.

“There is no way that teachers’ salaries can sustain these costs as such are expected to be repeated monthly. Huwag namang samantalahin ang dedikasyon ng ating mga guro, kinuha na ang kanilang tulog at pahinga, pati ba naman pambuhay sa pamilya?” asked Basilio.

He noted that the maximum take home pay of Teacher I, after deducting contributions, only amounts to P20,430. He said that DepEd data showed that an average of P13,000 is automatically deducted from teachers’ salaries for loan payments.

“There is practically nothing left of our teachers’ salaries due to the distance learning costs that are unjustly passed on to teachers, the government has to do something and be quick about this,” Basilio said.

He decried  the Department of Education’s ‘inaction’ on this problem, saying that the department only conducted a survey on internet expenses and churned out press releases announcing the coming payment of regular benefits such as the year-end bonus.

“False hopes and propaganda cannot cover up this very real problem on the ground. Clearly, the government has debts to pay to teachers, they better pay up because our teachers cannot bear this until June,” Basilio said.