[Statement] Teachers deserve healthcare beyond P500 -TDC
The Department of Education (DepEd) issues DepEd Order No. 28, s. 2020 or the Guidelines on the Grant of Five Hundred Pesos Financial Assistance to Public School Teachers for Payment of Medical Examination Expenses. This financial assistance, according to the DepEd aims to supplement the budget for the medical examination expenses of public school teachers amid the State of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19.
It is clear that medical examination for teachers should be done annually and it is compulsory, however, the same provision of the law also says that it should also be free. It is worthy to note that the DepEd, last year included this in the list of monetary benefits given to our public school teachers, though it was never realized.
The measly P500 medical check-up allowance intended to be given for the first time since 1966 cannot absolve the DepEd of its blatant disregard for this provision since its enactment into law. Nevertheless, the recent positive response, while decades late, is here appreciated.
The 54-year old, 1966 vintage Magna Carta for Public Teachers (RA 4670), for the information of everyone, puts the DepEd at the helm as the primary agency tasked to realize and implement its welfare provisions among other things. Crucial at this time of the pandemic, however, are the provisions for free and compulsory medical examination, treatment and hospitalization, and compensation for injuries which, to this day, are nowhere near being realized.
Thus, we appeal to the government to provide (on top and outside of Philhealth or GSIS benefits) both financial and comprehensive medical assistance to DepEd employees who report physically. Health protocol measures that include the provision of protective equipment, disinfection materials, and sanitation facilities should be provided to our public schools. Should COVID-19 befall a teacher, the need for his/her colleagues to assist out of their own pockets must be made a thing of the past, not because of teachers’ unwillingness to help, because they very much are willing, but because of the financial incapacity, they themselves are experiencing. It is incumbent upon the national government to provide comprehensive support to DepEd employees struck by COVID-19, from the initial swab test, to the full course of treatment and to final verificatory swab test.
Further, a paid sick leave or quarantine leave mechanism must be installed to respond to the needs of employees who would need to file a leave of absence resultant to being put in isolation for COVID-19.
Yes, we acknowledge this P500 for this only proves that the DepEd is indebted to our teachers. And teachers deserve commensurate payment. #
Benjo Basas, TDC National Chairperson
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