[Press Release] Teachers commend DEPED-NCR for a clear policy on work-from-home set-up, challenge the central office to implement its order -TDC

#HumanRights #Education Teachers commend DEPED-NCR for a clear policy on work-from-home set-up, challenge the central office to implement its order

While the issue of work arrangement during the pandemic has been a contested matter in most parts of the country, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) recognizes the clear-cut instruction from DepEd-NCR Regional Office which according to them is in accordance with the letters and spirit of the DepEd Order NO. 11, 2020, or the alternative work arrangement in the agency during the national health emergency.

“We appreciate this initiative from the DepEd-NCR regional director, a proof that he not only abides by the orders of the higher-ups but more importantly, he empathizes with the teachers and cares for their welfare,” said Ildefonso Enguerra III, a teacher in Manila and the president of TDC-NCR Teachers’ Union (TDC-NCRTU), the group’s regional chapter in Metro Manila.

In the said memorandum released by DepEd-NCR Director Malcolm Garma last week, the official reiterated that teachers are generally “in work from home arrangement except those authorized by the regional director.” The memorandum added that teachers “may physically report to school voluntarily and on a limited basis only” to accomplish several tasks that cannot be done remotely.

“We received reports even from the NCR that teachers were required to report physically to their schools to accomplish tasks like printing and sorting of learning modules. We reject it for these tasks are not in our job description as teachers, except if teachers would want to do it voluntarily. Since there is a national policy and the DepEd in several occasions had expressed that the modules are already prepared prior to the opening of classes, there is no need for our overburdened teachers to further work physically for these modules,” Enguerra added.

The NCR memorandum further said that a maximum of 30% of the total workforce- teaching and non-teaching may be asked to report to school to help in the distribution of gadgets and for the retrieval and replenishment of modules “but not in printing, sorting and packing of modules and learner packets.”

Meanwhile, Emmalyn Policarpio, the Secretary-General of TDC said that the DepEd Order NO. 11, s. 2020 should be implemented with uniformity.

“If the DepEd-NCR director can follow the order, why others cannot?” She asked. “We recognize that there are circumstances that would necessitate physical reporting, but it should not be done on a daily basis and shall not involve all the teachers,” Policarpio added.

Policarpio, a teacher in Valenzuela City and also the Vice President of TDC-NCRTU cited a memorandum obtained from the official website of DepEd Cebu Province directing “all teachers, school-based non-teaching personnel, school heads, and PSDSs to report daily in their respective stations starting Monday, October 19, 2020, except those with health comorbidities.” The said memorandum signed by Dr. Marilyn Andales, the school’s division superintendent for Cebu province further directed all teachers, school-based non-teaching staff, school heads, and supervisors “to stay and do their work/activities in respective classrooms and offices (while no pupil is around)” purportedly to adhere to the IATF’s Social Distancing Measure and prevent further spread of Covid-19 virus.

“This memorandum from Cebu for instance has contradictions in itself,” Policarpio said. According to her, the DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2020 and several clarifications issued by the DepEd Central Office clearly reiterated that the default work arrangement for teachers is the work-from-home (WFH) scheme. She added that “The Order further said that physical or on-site reporting shall only be considered if the tasks and functions of the personnel cannot be rendered through alternative or remote modalities, subject to strict guidelines in consideration of IATF, CSC and DepEd rules. Is checking of modules or conduct of online classes be strictly done in school?”

The TDC, through Policarpio, has sent a letter addressed to Secretary Leonor Briones prior to the October 5 opening of classes to seek clarification on the work arrangements that will be implemented for DepEd classroom teachers and other employees beginning October 5.

“The Central Office must step in. In order to make things clear and to avoid comparison and confusion in the field and to eliminate the hashtag #SanaAll in social media posts of our teachers. We are in one department, yet we have so many contradicting policies from one place to another. The implementation and the hashtag should be #DapatAll,” Policarpio ended.

The DepEd has yet to respond to the formal letter of the TDC referring to the DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2020 and the subsequent clarification under DM-PHRODFO-2020-00198 issued by Undersecretaries Revsee A. Escobedo and Jesus L.R. Mateo on June 22, 2020. Undersecretary Escobedo, in fact, made two formal replies addressed to Policarpio dated July 9, 2020, and August 9, 2020, affirming the validity of TDC’s claim that work-from-home is the default set-up regardless of the quarantine category. Metro Manila is placed under GCQ while Cebu is under a more relaxed MGCQ.

For details:
Ildefonso “Nono” Engeurra III, TDC-NCRTU President
Emmalyn Policarpio, Secretary-General

October 21, 2020

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