[From the web] Next Admin’s funding for Teachers’ Magna Carta sought | TDC

Next Admin’s funding for Teachers’ Magna Carta sought

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) acknowledges the findings of the Senate Committee on Basic Education and its recommendation to fully implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a vintage law enacted in 1966. The group particularly commended Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the committee chair for raising the matter in Senate’s plenary yesterday and expressed hopes that the next DepEd secretary, the Vice President-Elect Sara Duterte will at least consider the senator’s recommendations.

“We acknowledge the gesture of Sen., Gatchalian in Senate’s floor yesterday. By standing in the podium, he made our tiny and unheeded voices for more than 5 decades audible,” said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.

Basas said that the TDC has been in constant coordination with the leadership of relevant committees in both houses of Congress who expressed support for their advocacies.

“With the enthusiastic Senate Education Committee on our side, we are certain that the 19th Congress will use its oversight function and legislative powers in our favor. But we still need the proactive stance of the DepEd, the agency primarily tasked to implement the letters and spirit of the law,” Basas added.

Basas said that the law is considered as Bible of the Filipino teachers for its clear and explicit support to ensure the welfare of public school teachers, but unfortunately, many of its provisions are left unimplemented since the 1966.

“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 items are all required by the law, thus the DBM, GSIS and DepEd are duty-bound to implement them fully,” Basas explained adding that these provisions were all tackled during the Senate inquiry initiated by Gatchalian since year 2020.

Aside from those provisions, the Magna Carta 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. All of those provisions, according to the TDC are either not implemented or implemented but only in part.

Basas and his group underscored the DepEd’s obligation to provide medical care for its teachers, another mandate of Magna Carta stipulated in its Sections 22 and 23.

“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 even in the time of pandemic when the teachers need it most,” Basas continued.

The DepEd, according to Basas, however gave a one-time assistance worth P500 for teachers’ medical examination for year 2022.

“The full implementation of the Magna Carta for Teachers may not totally eliminate the ills of education sector but it will greatly contribute to solving the problems. We are hopeful that the incoming secretary, Inday Sara Duterte will give her full attention to this specific concern,” 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. #

For details:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
June 1, 2022

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