The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) expresses its support the impending Senate inquiry on the implementation of the 1966 vintage Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a law which was long been neglected by the government.
“This law, a very important piece of legislation is considered as the bible of Filipino teachers and lists several provisions that ensure the rights, welfare and dignity of the country’s public mentors. However, many of its provisions have not been implemented since the 1960s, and many still are selectively and partly enforced,” Benjo Basas, the group’s National Chairperson said.
Basas cites an incident in another senate committee hearing last year where several proposals for teachers’ salaries were tackled and the Budget Department stated its opposition to P10, 000 across-the-board increase citing some privileges supposedly enjoyed by the teachers. The DBM listed special hardship allowance, teaching overload or overtime pay, and the one salary grade higher upon retirement among other benefits that are exclusively given to public school teachers.
“They must be informed that our teachers do not enjoy the honoraria for teaching overload or the overtime pay as stipulated in the Magna Carta. There is indeed a special hardship allowance (SHA), but it is implemented incorrectly as it is based only on a mere DBM circular which says that the maximum amount shall not exceed 25% of a teacher’s monthly salary contrary to the mandate of Magna Carta that 25% shall be the minimum. And that one salary grade higher upon retirement is another myth, for the GSIS uses its own policy for computing the retirement benefits of teachers. These three items are all required by the law, thus the DBM, GSIS and DepEd are duty-bound to implement them fully,” Basas explained.
Basas said that beyond those provisions, the Magna Carta which is considered as the Bible of public school teachers ensures other benefits such as consent for transfer and transportation allowance, salary increment from lowest to highest within a maximum period of ten years, paid study leave for those who served for seven years and criteria set for determination of salaries.
“However, crucial at this time of pandemic are the provisions for free and compulsory medical examination, treatment and hospitalization, and compensation for injuries. These important provisions are not implemented until this very day when the teachers need it most,” Basas continued.
Thus, the TDC commends the initiative of Sen. Win Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education for filing Senate Resolution No. 522 that seeks for a comprehensive review of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
“This is the first major step in recent decades to critically analyze the law and the failure of government agencies- past and present to implement its provisions especially those that need funding to ensure teachers’ welfare. We hope that funds for this law will be realized next fiscal year,” Basas ended.
The TDC has been lobbying for the full implementation of the welfare provisions of Magna Carta, advocacy that propelled the group’s formation in 2006.
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
TEACHERS’ DIGNITY COALITION (TDC)
Telephone No: (02) 6920-296/ 0917-1138336
4443 BCL Homes, Independence St., Gen.T. De Leon, Valenzuela City
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