Briones asked: implement Magna Carta for teachers
Teachers and civil society groups vowed to engage DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones and the Duterte administration on their five-decade advocacy for the implementation of Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a vintage law enacted in June 1966.
“This Magna Carta is considered a bible of Filipino teachers and lists several provisions that ensure the rights, welfare and dignity of the country’s public school teachers.” Said Benjo Basas, the national chairperson of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC). “However, some of those provisions have not been implemented since the 1960s, and many still are selectively and partly enforced.” Basas added.
Basas cites certain provisions like the salary scale in which the law provides the teachers’ salary progression from lowest grade to highest grade within a maximum period of ten years, overtime pay for those who teach beyond six hours, free medical examination and hospitalization, paid study leave for those who served for seven years, and special hardship allowances, among others.
On its part, the Education Network-Philippines (E-Net) a national alliance of education sector advocates lamented the outcome of the 50-year old law, “This law embodies our government’s commitment ‘to promote and improve the social and economic status of public school teachers, their living and working conditions, their terms of employment and career prospects.’ But after five decades, teachers are not rejoicing but remember instead how their Magna Carta had been a long-forgotten law.” Said Addie Unsi, E-Net National Coordinator.
The groups have jointly initiated a massive information and education campaign for the Magna Carta through a series of forum that started on June 18, 2016, exactly 50 years after the law has signed by the then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. The initiative aims to strengthen and mobilize support for its implementation by engaging the respective government agencies, especially DepEd.
“This is one sad thing about this country, you have to fight for the enactment of a social legislation, and you then have to wage another battle to implement it.” Basas exclaimed.
Basas said that they have asked the new DepEd Secretary, Dr. Liling Briones for a dialogue to tackle the issue. “The law mandates the DepEd Secretary to implement many of its provisions and even directed her to prepare budgetary estimates to be submitted to Congress for appropriations.” Basas said. “We are confident that Sec. Briones will be on our side on this matter, being an expert on fiscal policies and an advocate of social justice, the Secretary’s wisdom is very much anticipated.”
Briones was also present in the first forum in UP Diliman and has stated that teachers deserve more than just lip-service recognition and accolades but a genuine change in their condition where their economic and democratic rights are being respected and protected.
Addie Unsi, E-Net National Coordinator ended saying “we are hoping that the new administration will really effect genuine change, it can start by correcting the errors of the past administrations, respect and protect teachers’ rights by fully and correctly implementing the provisions of the Magna Carta.”
TDC and E-Net initiated forums are set on July 22 and 23 at the DepEd Regional Office in San Fernando City Pampanga and DepEd-NCR office in Quezon City, respectively. Another forum is also tentatively scheduled on July 29 at DepEd CALABARZON office in Cainta, Rizal. #
Benjo Basas, TDC National Chairperson, 0927-3356375/ 0999-9744612
Addie Unsi, E-NET National Coordinator, 0906-1748411
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