Contractual, part-time professors slam alleged University discrimination
Amidst the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, some instructors from one of the country’s leading state universities cried foul over the alleged neglect, injustice and discrimination. The management of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), the country’s largest university system is criticized by its own teachers.
In a Facebook post, Jose Mario De Vega, an instructor in the university’s Department of Philosophy and Humanities exclaimed, “Kaming mga part timers, mga Kontraktuwal na mga manggagawa e walang nakuhang ni anumang tulong o ayuda sa administrasyon ng PUP nitong panahon na ito ng Pandemiko! Bakit? Wala daw kasing employer employee relationship! At dahil no work, no pay kami e bahala na kami sa mga buhay namin?”
De Vega who has been teaching in the university since 2012 criticized the management for neglect and inhumanity, “Kahit isang kilong bigas o isang lata ng sardinas ay walang ayudang ibinigay ang pamantasang ito sa amin, lalo na sa mga katulad kong part-timer,” he added. “But on May 30, the PUP administration released a memorandum to all the teachers, including myself requiring us to develop and submit instructional materials. This is a clear instance of discrimination, an inhumane treatment of your employees. Kapag sahod, benepisyo, biyaya at ayuda ay para lang sa mga regular, pero kapag trabaho, gawain at dagdag pang tungkulin na walang bayad kahit piso ay damay na kaming mga part timers at contractual?”
De Vega also revealed that he was among the employees who did not benefit from any of the assistance given by the government to displaced workers, the poorest of the poor and all the other people in general who lost their livelihood during several months of community quarantine. Thus, “a helping hand from the university I served with diligence, sincerity and excellence will be a gesture of compassion if not gratitude,” he said.
The sentiments of De Vega was echoed by a former PUP colleague, Mark Joseph Santos who is now teaching in another university, in another social media post said, “Isang malaking kabalintunaan kung ang PUP, na nakabuo na ng pambansang pangalan bilang isa sa mga pangunahing institusyon na nagsusulong ng katarungang panlipunan, ay patuloy na magpipikit ng mata sa busabos na kalagayan ng sarili nitong kaguruan, na siyang mga haliging dahilan kung bakit nananatiling matayog ang pagkakatayo ng unibersidad.”
The PUP is popularly tagged as the “People’s University” for producing professionals and students who involved themselves in the service of the people and in advocating social justice.
The same is true with the ardent support and solidarity given by Professor Jun Cruz Reyes, a known writer and Literature professor at the University of the Philippines who also teaches at PUP. Referring to De Vega’s rants, this is what he said publicly, “Salamat sa pagbibigay ng boses sa nakararaming faculty ng unibersidad. Kailangan natin ng mga opisyal na visionary lalo na sa panahon ng crisis. Hindi sapat ang katuwirang sumunod ka na lang o argumentong teknikal. Kailangan ng mga diskusyon para makabuo ng plano. Kailangan marinig ang maraming sentemiento. Polytechnic, ibig sabihi’y marami, pagsama-samahin ang maraming tinig lalo na ng nasa ibaba.”
Cruz-Reyes, a multi-awarded literary writer took swipe at PUP administration and compared its actions with some institutions. “Sa Bulacan State University (BSU), advance ang sweldo, kinunsulta ang part-timers at binigyan ng advice hanggang next semester. Sa University of the Philippines (UP), ang haba ng konsultasyon at tuloy din ang sweldo. Sa UP rin, maraming benepisyo ang untenured faculty, tuition, allowances sa bigas, clothing etc. Ang isyu (sa PUP), pag may ipapagawa sa part-time, i.e. accreditation, public lecture libre. Pag benefits naman eh wala. Tatlong buwang walang ni ha ni ho mula sa administrasyon. Ngayon nama’y nagpapagawa ng module. May bayad ‘yon sa La Salle, kung hindi yon magawa ng mga full time, ba’t sa walang sweldo ia-assign? Hindi normal ang panahon, extra measure ang kailangan,” Cruz-Reyes said in a lengthy Facebook comment.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) expressed its support to PUP contractual and part-time professors and called on the university management and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to help the teachers in similar situation with De Vega.
“The CHED must look into the policy of hiring contractual teachers and part-timers in all higher education institutions especially in government-run schools. The state shall serve as a good example to all other employers in treating their employees, thus contractualization particularly in education institution should not be tolerated,” said Benjo Basas, the TDC’s National Chairperson.
The TDC sincerely viewed and firmly maintained that part-timers and contractual teachers like in the case of PUP’s De Vega should be responded with a more concrete solution and not just a one-time assistance. “Undoubtedly, our teachers and other employees in the same scheme need assistance either from the government or school management or both. But to be more precise, a policy of non-discrimination in terms of hiring and regularization shall be in place,” Basas ended.
The TDC has formally seek the intervention of CHED and the respective higher education committees of Congress.
Jose Mario De Vega, 0928-6292431
Benjo Basas, TDC National Chairperson- 0927 3356375
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