Tag Archives: Armin Luistro

[Statement] DEPED should break its silence on the PEI -TDC

DEPED should break its silence on the PEI

To once and for all, erase all the doubts and worries of Public school teachers on the bonus called PEI or productivity enhancement incentive, we again urge the Department of Education (DepEd) to issue an official statement on the status of this incentive and assure the teachers that, indeed the agency is entitled to a bonus equivalent to ‘one month salary’ that shall be released within the month of June. Since Malacanang released Executive Order 181, there have been stories circulating that teachers would not be entitled to such or would get a lower amount of P5000. This, despite the assurance from Sec. Armin Luistro that DepEd employees and teachers would be entitled to a maximum incentive equivalent to their one month salary. The assurance however was made during a meeting with TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas and was not made public until this very day, a month after the promulgation of the said order. Posts in teachers’ groups in social media are demanding words from Sec. Armin Luistro to clarify the matter.






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Benjo Basas
TDC National Chair

June 16, 2015

[Press Release] Teachers ask Bro. Armin to clarify Saturday make-up class order -TDC

Teachers ask Bro. Armin to clarify Saturday make-up class order

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) reiterated its appeal to DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to order the immediate deferment of the Saturday make-up classes. The group further asks the secretary for a dialogue to clarify the DepEd’s basis for such make-up classes. Luistro in recent statement said that he leave the matter to the discretion of the field officials, specifically the Schools Division Superintendents (SDSs).


“We are not convinced that make-up classes should be implemented now because we are still compliant of the quarterly school program contained in DepEd Order No. 18, s. 2014 signed by Bro. Armin himself.” Said Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s national chairperson.

Basas said that in some divisions of Metro Manila and Central Visayas, make-up classes have started since January 24. This, according to him has prompted their group to hold dialogues with the respective division offices.

“In our dialogue with Caloocan City Division for instance, the Superintendent said that they are just following orders from the higher-ups. Eh di para kaming bola na pagpapasa-pasahan na lang palagi.” Basas exclaimed.

He however said that there was a little victory in the case of Caloocan City because SDS Rita Riddle agreed to postpone the make-up classes to February 7 and it has been cut from 5 to only 3 Saturdays.

“The Secretary should never leave this concern of teachers to the discretion of the field officials. This is a national policy, therefore, there should be a uniform interpretation and implementation. And his office is responsible in ensuring such.” Basas argued.

The group said that teachers were furious over the sudden directive forcing them and their students to report for Saturday classes in lieu of Papal visit suspension last month. There was no consultation made and that the orders were very inconsiderate of the situation both of the teachers and students and their parents.

“Brother Armin, please make us feel that our secretary cares for us teachers. Show us your ‘mercy and compassion.’ Please listen to us.” Basas ended.

The TDC is expected to have a dialogue with DepEd-NCR officials tomorrow, Monday to ask for an immediate deferment of the make-up classes in NCR. The group however said that it should be stop in all regions and divisions in the country, thus, a central office order would be necessary. #

For details: Benjo Basas, 09205740241



Ang Saturday make-up classes na ipinatutupad na sa ilang division sa NCR at Central Visayas ay hindi naidaan man lang sa kahit na kaunting konsultasyon o pagtalakay kasama ang mga guro at iba pang stakeholders.


Lampas sa kani-kanilang dayalogo sa mga dibisyon, dapat na hamunin natin ang mga Regional Offices at ang central office upang agad itong ipahinto.


Huwag sana tayong gawing bola na pagpapasa-pasahan na naman, Kailanga natin ang sagot ni Bro. Armin Luistro. Sa kaniya nagmumula ang pambansang polisiya kaya dapat na siya rin ang  magtiyak na maayoas at uniform ang interpretasyon at implementasyon niyo sa buong bansa.

Simple lamang naman ang gusto natin:
UNA, ipaliwanag ng central office kung bakit kailangan ang make-up class gayong walang lost school days batay na rin sa DepEd Order No. 18, 2014 na galing sa central office at pirmado ni Bro. Armin mismo.

IKALAWA, mano ba namang kausapin muna tayo ng mga Regional at Division officials bago tayo puwersahang papasukin at isuko ang araw ng Sabado na mahalaga sa atin, hindi lang bioang guro kundi bilang mga tao.

IKATLO, bakit iba-iba ang bilang ng Saturday classes sa mga dibisyon, mula tatlo hanggang walong Sabado.

IKA-APAT, bayaran ng service credit o katumbas ng isang araw na sahod ang mga araw na ipinapasok natin labas sa ating normal teaching hours sa ilalim ng Magna Carta for Teachers, kabilang ang mga Sabado ng make-up classes.

Ayaw sana nating maging matuos sa oras at kompensasyon, pero malaon na tayong sinasamantala dahil sa ating kabaitan.

Brother Armin, please make us feel that our secretary cares for us teachers. Show us you “mercy and compassion.”

-Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC)/
Ating Guro Partylist
Pebrero 1, 2015

February 1, 2015

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[Press Release] Group appeals to SSS, GSIS, Pag-ibig for Visayas teachers -TDC

Group appeals to SSS, GSIS, Pag-ibig for Visayas teachers

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) once again appealed to the government loan agencies to facilitate faster privileges with lenient terms to the survivors and relatives of the victims of super typhoon Yolanda that swept many provinces of the Visayas including some in Northern Mindanao and Southern Tagalog regions.


“We appeal to the respective boards of Pag-Ibig, GSIS and SSS to immediately facilitate special loans to the calamity victims or their relatives.” Said Benjo Basas, TDC national chairperson.

Public school teachers are entitled to apply for loan in Pag-ibig and GSIS, while private school teachers may get a loan from Pag-ibig and SSS.

Basas said that “The granting of ‘no-interest loans’ for teachers survivors and relatives would surely help them rebuild their lives after being devastated by the monster storm. The strict policies should be waived at this time. Such would be a gesture not just of support and generosity, but more so, love and compassion.”

This will also signal hope for the teachers so that they will eventually help others in the rehabilitation effort.

Basas said that teachers or employees that are non-residents of disaster areas but are closely related or involved in their family’s economic activities in back in home provinces must be considered.

“People, especially teachers in the affected provinces need these kind of help. We may focus on the provinces of Samar and Leyte but we have to remember that there are also a lot of people, schools and teachers in the northern parts of the islands of Cebu, Negros, Panay and Palawan. Still, teachers in Metro Manila or any other parts of the country that support their families in the provinces must also be granted the same privilege.” Basas ended.

On Tuesday, November 26, TDC members who temporarily evacuated from Leyte will join the gathering of Yolanda survivors at the DepEd Central Office where Sec. Armin Luistro is expected to meet them for lunch.

25 November 2013

[People] Recovery begins with teachers. By Benjo Basas

Recovery begins with teachers
Benjo Basas, TDC Chair
November 20, 2013

Recovery begins with teachers. Photo by TDC

Recovery begins with teachers. Photo by TDC

I remember this was the theme for World Teachers’ Day celebration in October 5, 2010, because that year, the world witnessed some of the worst natural disasters in history. For this year, that theme would still be relevant in our very own country.

File photo by petiburgis.com

File photo by petiburgis.com

Some teachers of Leyte are among those people who left the island to take temporary shelter and solicit help from relatives in Cebu, Metro Manila or other relieving places. Five of those who came to Manila are members of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) from Leyte, two from Tanauan, one from Jaro, one from MacArthur and another one from Tacloban. They travelled either via C-130 flight or a long bus ride via Maharlika highway or commercial flight from Cebu. All of them have informed me and I was able to meet them in separate instances.

The couple from Tanauan already travelled back to Leyte yesterday carrying much needed goods- medicines, food and other essentials which Sir Lino, the husband said “Para ito sa mga teacher sa lugar namin. Mga teacher kasi ang kawawa sa balyahan pag kumukuha ng relief goods, hindi natin kaya makipagsabayan eh.” He looks very weak, physically and perhaps weaker psychologically. He could not even smile and I understand his predicament, so just I asked him about the situation of my paryentes in Tanauan (because according to a Facebook status of a relative, there are more than 50 casualties from the clan alone and I’m pretty sure she included her maternal relatives in the headcount), he answered, “Masuwerte pa nga ang mga Basas dun sir kasi nasa mas mataas na baryo sila, hindi kagaya naming na nasa tabing-dagat.” He could hardly carry the bag of goods and just drag it to the bus that will travel that night to Tacloban, their trip is scheduled the following morning. It was more painful for us, because what we gave him is just enough for a day or two days consumption of his family, yet he is going to further share it to other teachers.
Another teacher, Sir Danny, the one from Jaro, Leyte left the province with his two children and his mother who needs to take dialysis treatment in Manila. They braved the long queue for 48 hours just to hitch a C-130 flight from Tacloban airport to Manila. Rain, sunlight, thirst, hunger, physical pain and the site and smell of dead bodies in the area make the agony unimaginably painful. At one time he asked his mother to act as if she is so weak so the authorities may prioritize them in which the mother replied, “Anak, hindi ko na kailangang magpanggap na mahina, dahil mahinang-mahina na talaga ako.” He cried when finally, he stepped on the platform of the plane that ensures his ride, “Akala ko nananaginip lang ako, masaya ako na hindi ko maintindihan ang nararamdaman ko.” They are now in Caloocan, in Sta. Quiteria where his relatives reside.

Another group, lead by Mam Lyn, a teacher from MacArthur, Leyte took a temporary refuge in a public school in Taguig where the principal is a supporter of TDC and a personal friend of mine. They met in Leyte during the campaign period, both of them helped the campaign of Ating Guro Partylist. Ma’am Lyn is very friendly and accommodating. I remember when I visited Leyte last December, she fetch me from the airport and brought me to my destination, itinerary actually. She travelled with two daughters, a daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren. When I visited her in Taguig last Monday, she looks fine despite the stories of devastation, “Masuwerte kayo at hindi kayo nabahaan,” she said why recalling the horrible sites of Leyte towns from McArthur to Tacloban. We handed her what’s left of the goods TDC members brought in our meeting last Saturday- some canned goods, instant noodles and biscuits. She checked the bags and asked “Waray bugas?” She laughs on her own remark. “Salamat Doy kay bugas na lang akong bilihin.” She said in mixed Waray and Tagalog.

Early yesterday, I received a text message from Cristy Diomaro, a master teacher and who teaches mentally gifted children at Sto. Nino SPED Center in Tacloban City. She was in Cebu airport that time and waiting to board on a flight to Manila while I was at the DepEd central office in Pasig. She came all the way from Tacloban via Ormoc and then rode a ferry to Cebu to take a commercial flight to Manila. She called me when she arrived in NAIA and I told her that I will bring her to the House Committee on Basic Education hearing where DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro and I are among the resource persons along with some DepEd officials and disaster management experts. The urgent hearing aimed to tackle the possible legislation of the Disaster Preparedness Bill for public schools initiated by Cong. Kimi Cojuanco, also the committee chair. We took our lunch at the TDC office in Barangay Central, QC, “After two weeks, ngayon lang uli nakakain ng hindi canned goods at instant noodles,” she said laughing, her niece Roxanne who travelled along with her agreed. We left their bags at the office and went all the way to Batasan.

During the hearing, Ma’am Cristy broke in tears every time the Yolanda tragedy is mentioned. She reacts in the audience seat when Sec. Luistro presented the DepEd relief and rehabilitation effort. Seemingly, she is not satisfied with the way the DepEd handle things in the area- far from what the secretary has been reported. She also said the bad politics between the national government and the local officials exacerbated the situation in Tacloban.

When Cong. Kimi Cojuangco asked me for comments, I took the opportunity to introduce Ma’am Cristy to the committee members, the chair recognized her, “We would like to acknowledge the presence of Ms. Cristy Diomaro, a teacher from Tacloban City” she said which further made Ma’am Cristy emotional.

After the meeting, officials flocked her and gave their words of sympathy and encouragement, among them DepEd Undersecretary Dina Ocampo, DepEd Assistant Secretary Lorna Dig-Dino and Bro. Armin Luistro himself. Ms. Gigi Ricafort, the committee secretary spared her little amount and a big hug, both of them and practically all the people left in the hall were crying. The teary-eyed Luistro felt the sacrifices of his teachers as he listens to the narration of Ma’am Cristy. She reiterates, “Sir we need help for us to recover. I love my students so much, matatalino silang mga bata.”

The secretary immediately planned for events, among them the tracking of teachers who left Samar and Leyte and gather them all in DepEd Central office so they could give them the immediate assistance they need. He also asked me to closely coordinate all the data we gather from the field and submit them directly to his office. He then asked me what we can do to help the immediate recovery of the people in typhoon-ravaged areas, I said “Sir we must give them hope and inspiration.” In which, the secretary replied, “Cristy will be the face of hope and inspiration.”

Ma’am Cristy’s day in the lower house ended with the words of assurance from the secretary that immediate help from the DepEd is underway which seemingly gave her a relief and strengthen her. Finally, the secretary gave her an embrace, perhaps the most relieving embrace she ever received. As she bids goodbye to her newly-found comforters, she left a strong words “I believe Tacloban will soon recover and the recovery will begin with our teachers and schools.”

The secretary was impressed by Ma’am Cristy’s courage, passion for her work, resilience and survival- characters that define the teachers of Samar, Leyte and the entire country. Indeed, Tacloban and the rest of the areas devastated by Yolanda will soon rise and our schools will be the source of strength. #

For details: 

Cristy Diomaro-Gallano, Tacloban teacher, 0917-6956331/ 0939-9198894
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson- 09205740241

  • Some teachers of Leyte left the province to solicit help from relatives and friends in Metro Manila and to directly raise the concerns of the public school teachers in storm-ravaged areas
  • One of them is MS Cristy Diomari0, 48 years old and a TDC member and teacher in Sto. Nino SPED center in Tacloban City
  • Cristy brings her horrible story of catastrophe in the House Committee of Basic Education hearing on disaster preparedness last Tuesday where she also able to talk to Secretary Armin Luistro, who assured her that help for teachers is underway
  • With her courage, passion for her work, love for children, resilience and survival, even Sec. Luistro is convinced that Cristy may be the face of hope and inspiration and eventual recovery of Tacloban, Leyte and Samar
  • Attached is the an article of narrative written by Benjo Basas, TDC Chair for further reference
For details:
Cristy Diomaro-Gallano, Tacloban teacher, 0917-6956331/ 0939-9198894
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson- 09205740241

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] Teachers ask DEPED to defer make-up classes -TDC

Teachers ask DEPED to defer make-up classes

logo TDC

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) appealed to the DepEd central office to consider deferment of the scheduled make-up classes in several divisions of Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Central Luzon. The group argued that the DepEd has yet to come up with a clear and uniform guidelines and the holding of make-up classes is contrary to its earlier pronouncements.

“While we recognize the authority of the schools division superintendents in imposing make-up classes, we would like to appeal to the DepEd Central Office to clarify the guidelines first for the purpose of fairness and uniformity.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.

Basas said that based on the reports gathered by the TDC from the field, make-up classes differ in every school even those within the same district, division or municipality

“It creates confusion and comparison between and among the teachers in the field.” Basas continued.

Basas said the problem is due mainly to the policy of class suspension where the LGU executive has the authority to suspend classes in his jurisdiction while the DepEd field officials- from school heads, district supervisors, division superintendents and regional directors are empowered to impose make-up classes.

The group also asks the DepEd to clarify the use of buffer days.

“The school calendar since 2011-2012 up to the current school year declares 180 non-negotiable teaching and learning days or days where teacher is in full contact with the learners. It also sets aside buffer days for class disruptions, for SY 2013-2014, we have 21 buffer days out of 201 school days. How come that some schools and divisions are already having make-up classes? Are buffer days already consumed?” asked Basas.

TDC reiterates that make up classes may only be imposed once the 180 non-negotiable teaching days have been compromised. The DepEd in a statement on August 23 said, “The DepED annual calendar of around 200 school days already includes 20 days buffer for class disruptions. There may still be enough buffer days at this time of the school year so as not to require make up classes following the days lost this week.”

Basas said that th eDepEd is consistent with its position, in fact on October 24, 2011 press release on the clarification of semestral break, DepEd said, “Education Secretary Armin Luistro specified that the total number of school days shall be 202 while the total number of teaching-learning days shall be 180 days. The 22-day difference shall be for national and local events and celebrations, national, division and regional achievement tests and class suspensions due to calamities.

Basas reiterates that the scheduled make-up classes for tomorrow and on following Saturdays be defer until a clarification and unified guidelines from the DepEd Central Office have been issued.

“We believe that there may be a need for make-up classes would be necessary to cover the lost learning days of our pupils and students, however, we appeal to all the field officials of the DepEd to do it in a proper manner and the clarification from the office of Secretary Armin Luistro would be necessary.” Basas ended.

The group formally wrote to DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to act on the matter immediately.

September 6, 2013
Reference: Benjo Basas, Chairperson- 09205740241

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] Porky solons missing the point of labor group -PM

Porky solons missing the point of labor group


Perhaps solons are suffering from pork overdose they totally missed the point raised by Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) on MRT-LRT subsidy, the group’s spokesman said in a statement. The group is opposing the proposed P10 fare hike in the MRT and LRT systems.

Administration allies in the House of Representatives led by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, and House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna, ganged up on PM, describing as “ridiculous” and “misplaced” the group’s assertion that VIPs in government led by the President and members of Congress and the Judiciary enjoy hefty travel allowances compared to the P13 per day subsidy allotted for MRT-LRT commuters.

“They completely missed our point. Our message was very simple: Why remove the subsidy being enjoyed 460 million times in a year by millions of poor MRT-LRT commuters when few VIPs enjoy a much bigger travel subsidy from taxpayers? The issue is inequality,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza.

PM disclosed earlier that based on the General Appropriations Act of 2012, P344 million was allotted for the Office of the President or equivalent to P943,000 per day. The Vice President’s travel subsidy was P16.52 million or P45,000 per day; the 23 senators P311.69 million or P854,000 per day; the 278 congressmen, P618.26 million or P1.7 million per day; the 15 justices of the Supreme Court, at least P143.29 million or P392,000 a day.

Defending the President’s travel perks, Fortaleza said, was perhaps a solon’s strategy of defending himself who’s House now burns in pork scandal.

Fortaleza explained further that social inequalities reflected in the economy are tightly connected with prevailing State policies, specifically on the issue of subsidies.

PM believes that subsidy is not a bad thing if it is in pursuit of social objectives. “Inequality occurs when millionaire politicians and rent-seekers in business complain about subsidies being allocated to the poor when they themselves are heavily subsidized by taxpayers,” lamented Fortaleza.

Citing media reports, Fortaleza pointed to the 2012 Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networths (SALN) where 98% or 271 out of 278 members of Congress were declared millionaires, wherein each of the top 29 netted at least P100-M.

Likewise it is only Bro. Armin Luistro of DepEd who is a non-millionaire in PNoy’s official Cabinet.

“We fully subsidize their travel. Yet they complain of the subsidy they appropriate to the poor commuters,” concluded Fortaleza.

Partido ng Manggagawa
17 August 2013
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09178233956; 09053732185; 09225261138

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[In the news] Department of Education to monitor schools over graduation fee | Sun.Star

Department of Education to monitor schools over graduation fee | Sun.Star.

March 24, 2012

THE Department of Education (DepEd) is set to monitor all state-owned primary and secondary schools to ensure none of the schools will collect graduation fees from their students and parents this March.

In the DepEd’s recent order, Secretary Armin Luistro said this is in response to the suggestion of various groups to strictly implement the department’s order prohibiting the collection of any fees during graduation days.

Luistro was referring to Akap Bata party-list, which recently launched their “Gradfee Monitor 2012”, a program specifically aims to discourage collection or requiring graduating students to pay graduation fee first as one of the prerequisites for graduation.

Read full article @ http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2012/03/24/education-office-monitor-schools-over-grad-fee-213003

[In the news] Mobile kindergarten classrooms launched – PhilStar.com

Mobile kindergarten classrooms launched
By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star
January 25, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines – The first unit of several mobile kindergarten classrooms of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Bagong Henerasyon party-list group was launched yesterday in a public elementary school in Quezon City.

The mobile unit is a customized truck equipped with furniture and classroom paraphernalia as well as air conditioning. It could service up to 24 students.

The first unit will be used at the President Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Batasan Hills, Quezon City but more units are expected to be rolled out to service schools with classroom shortage.

DepEd will provide teaching materials to volunteer teachers for the program.

The President Corazon Aquino Elementary School has 632 kindergarten students crammed in four two-hour shifts, with the fourth shift lasting up to 6 p.m. daily.

In a ceremony yesterday, Education Secretary Armin Luistro signed a memorandum of agreement with Bagong Henerasyon party-list group headed by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy for the implementation of the project.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] 12-year education an essential reform, says ex-UN exec – PhilStar.com

12-year education an essential reform, says ex-UN exec
By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star
January 21, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines – Extending the number of years students are educated from 10 to 12 is an ambitious but “essential reform” that will put the Philippines in line with the rest of the world, says a former UN official.

Sheldon Shaeffer, former director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), lent his support to the government’s plan in a lecture in Pasig City as part of the International Education Colloquium.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is planning to extend the basic school system to 12 years by 2016, but the move has not met unanimous support. Some say that the country is not yet prepared for such a reform, as it grapples with shortages of classrooms, teachers, and learning materials. Parents have also complained they can’t afford the additional cost of keeping their children in school for another two years.

Lecturing at the DepEd’s central office, Schaeffer urged the country to push forward with the plan. He said the program would give graduates better employment opportunities and put the Philippines in line with other countries.

Only one other country uses a 10-year basic education system, Myanmar.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] DepEd vows enjoyable, interactive classes under K+12 program – www.sunstar.com.ph

DepEd vows enjoyable, interactive classes under K+12 program
January 11, 2012

 MANILA — Education Secretary Armin Luistro on Wednesday said the proposed 12-year basic education program will be enjoyable, easily understood, and interactive.

“We are making it a real learning experience for the students, meaning, it will be less on memorization but more encouraging of critical thinking,” he said.

Luistro said that the new K to 12 curriculum will also implement the mother tongue-based multi-lingual education (MTB-MLE) in studying lessons from Kinder up to Grade 3.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[People] The Education Budget (2011 Philippine Education Situation: Last of 3part series)- By Renato G. Mabunga, Ph.D.

The Education Budget [2011 Philippine Education Situation: Last of 3part series].

By Renato G. Mabunga, Ph.D.

The 2011 Education Budget

Appropriate budget to fuel the implementation of Education agenda plan is crucial.  For this year’s appropriation, the DepEd is given P207 billion pesos.  This is 19% higher than the 2010’s 175 billion amount.  P12.4 billion of the budget pie is for the construction of school buildings; P1.8B needed to purchase 32.3 million textbooks;  P1.6B for hiring additional 10,000 teachers; P8.6b for scholarship, training grants and student loan programs under TESDA, CHED, DOST, and DepEd; P21million for Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP); P727.5M for science and mathematics equipments.[1]  Major intent of the allocation is to propel implementation of Aquino’s 10 Point Education reform which includes the universal kindergarten to achieve the “Education for All” commitment of the government by 2015.  The stress on kindergarten program for 5-year old toddlers in 2011 marks the groundwork for the K-12 project of DepEd.

Going deeper into the budget allocation vis-à-vis deficit in our education system, the current budget is still found wanting.  It hides under the pronouncements of ‘austerity measure’ and maximization of ‘meager resources’ to cover-up automatic appropriation amount for debt servicing.  More than thirty-seven percent (37.50%) of the total 2011 budget is allotted to pay the current P4.712trillion debt of the country (combined domestic and foreign).[2]  The budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) was cut by P367.2 million in 2011; DepEd school-building program was halved in 2011; it boast  of building 13,147 new classrooms for 2011 — yet the backlog of public school classrooms is some 113,000.[3]

Critiques suggest that Congress revisits the General Appropriation Act (GAA), scrap the automatic allotment for dept payment and channel the money for social services, instead.

Under the banner of ‘austerity measures’ the government embarks, through its Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016, Public-Private Partnership (PPP), in both infrastructure and social services, and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) as major strategies to achieve inclusive growth.  While PPP in infrastructure and social services aimed at generating “high and sustained economic growth” and “equal access to development opportunities” respectively, CCT through its ‘Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’ (4Ps) is thought as a “responsive and effective social safety nets”.  Accordingly, the expected growth is translated into reducing poverty and increasing employment.

Translated in the education sector, Education Secretary Armin Luistro insists on firming up more partnerships with the private sector.[4]  He recognizes the need that government alone is insufficient in catching up with the decades of neglect of the sector and DepEd alone cannot implement the Administration’s 10-point Education Agenda.  An Inter-Agency Task Force on K+12 composed of representatives from the executive and legislative branches in government is set up.  The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is tasked to support the education agenda through the provision of CCT grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14.  A child is entitled a P3,000 cash per school year or 10 months or P300/month for educational expenses. A maximum of three children per household is allowed.  To qualify for the educational cash grants, beneficiaries’ 3-5 year old children must attend day care or pre-school classes and 6-14 year old children must enrol in elementary or high school at least 85% of the time.

Read full article @ renatomabunga.wordpress.com

[Event] Regional Forum on Teachers’ Rights and Welfare – TDC

11 December 2011

Activity:          Regional Forum on Teachers’ Rights and Welfare
Date/Time:      December 12, 2011, 9:00AM-5:00PM
Venue:            DepEd NCR Conference Hall, Misamis St., Bagobantay, Quezon City

1.      Some 150 teacher-leaders from all the schools divisions from Metro Manila will gather at the DepEd NCR Conference Hall to tackle teachers’ issues before the end of year 2011.

2.      Among the topics to be discussed are the Public Sector Unionism in DepEd regions, Release of Christmas Bonus (Productivity Enhancement Incentive or PEI) for teachers and government employees and the teachers’ campaign for salary increases and other benefits in 2012.

3.      Expected guests include Civil Service Commission officials lead by Dr. Francisco Duque who confirmed his attendance. DBM Secretary Butch Abad, however declined the invitation because of a prior commitment in his department.

4.      The teachers are expecting the release of their PEI tomorrow, December 12. As per DBM Circular 2001-04 signed released by Abad last December 5, it should be released not earlier than December 8. If the DBM and DepEd will be able to release it by tomorrow, this will be the earliest since the PEI or Performance Bonus in the amount of P10, 000.00 was granted for government employees in 2007.

For details:
Benjo Basas, TDC Chairperson                                  0920-5740241/385-3437

[Press Release] Teachers support DEPED’s simple Christmas celebration – TDC

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) echoes the call of DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to celebrate Christmas in schools in simple and meaningful ways. The secretary reiterated the strict observance of the DepEd Order No. 114, series of 2009 signed by the then Secretary Jesli A. Lapus.

TDC Chair Benjo Basas said “We are one with the DepEd in reminding school officials and even teachers that Christmas Parties should not be compulsory and expensive.  We may unwittingly teach the children to become materialistic. Christmas should not be a season of commercialism but rather of good values- sacrifice for the common good, love for others and sharing of blessings.” #

Reference: Benjo Basas, Chairperson, 0920-5740241/ 3853437

[In the news] DepEd to end classroom shortage by 2014 – www.philstar.com

DepEd to end classroom shortage by 2014
By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – With an approved budget of P238 billion for 2012 and a lot of help from the private sector, the Department of Education (DepEd) is confident of filling up the shortage of more than 66,000 classrooms and 100,000 teachers by 2014.

The proposed P238.8-billion budget of DepEd for 2012, which was passed by the House of Representatives and is already up for discussion at the Senate, represents a 15 percent increase from last year’s P207-billion budget.

Of the increase, P14.5 billion will be allocated for retirement and life insurance premiums of employees and P8.9 billion will go to the miscellaneous personnel benefits fund.

Of the remaining P215.1 billion, P167.1 billion will go to salaries of its personnel, including P2.8 billion in additional annual allocation for the 13,000 new teachers, and funds for the scheduled increase in wages of government employees in 2012.

Teachers’ basic pay will be increased to P18,549 from P17,099 this year once the fourth and final wave of increases under the Salary Standardization Law III is put into effect next year.

This wage hike will make their total monthly gross pay surpass P20,000.

“By 2014, we will only construct classrooms based on expected increase in student population,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said.

DepEd is allocating P21.7 billion for capital outlay and plans to use over P18 billion to construct and repair a total of 15,000 classrooms and install 25,000 sanitation facilities.

An additional 30,000 classrooms are to be constructed through public-private partnership, bringing the total target to 45,000 classrooms in just one year.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[Press Release] Teachers commend DEPED transparency, chide education budget – TDC

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) commends the DepEd for informing the public ‘where their taxes go,’ however, the group also criticized the department for spending too much for some unworthy programs while allocating very little for the necessities.

Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s national chairperson said they expect more budget for the improvement of schools and less for programs with no clear impact on education output.

Basas specifically pointed out the expenses for Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) which according to DepEd statement, “provides alternative opportunities to deserving students whose families can afford to spend extra for private school tuition, and are selected from the graduating elementary students and are supported until they finish 4th year high school while complying with the minimum academic requirements of the program.”

“The government is set to allocate 6.3 billion for this program, a very huge amount compared to other more important budget items in the DepEd. Thus, it needs to be reviewed, the DepEd should evaluate the implementation and impact of this program.” Basas explained. “Clearly, the funds are needed to finance more meaningful and tangible investments like construction of classrooms and other facilities and hiring of teachers.” Basas continued.

The group also chided the government for ignoring the fiscal requirements to implement the K-12 program, the flagship program of the Aquino government in education which plans to institutionalize free and universal kindergarten and include it in the expanded basic education of at least 13 years.

“In the DepEd’s transparency report, there is no specific mention of P-Noy’s flagship program. How much money would be spent to hire regular kinder teachers with a dignified compensation? How many classrooms will be built to house kinder students? Will there be instructional materials for teachers and learning materials for pre-school kids?” Basas asked.

Basas said that until now the ‘volunteer teachers’ and regular DepEd teachers who served in the kindergarten program from June of this year are yet to be paid of their P3000 monthly honorarium.

“The improvement in education system depends largely on the fiscal policy of the government and if this trend continues, we could never expect for a better output.” Basas ended.

For details:
Benjo Basas, TDC Chairperson   0920-5740241/385-3437

[Press Release] Kinder teachers not paid since June

“This is how the DepEd implements K-12 program of P-Noy, an honorarium of P3000 which is always delayed.” Said Emmalyn Policarpio a teacher of Valenzuela City and the group’s Spokesperson.

The national monitoring made by the TDC revealed that almost all the teachers under the kindergarten program have not been paid since June 2011 and still, some teachers who served in the summer kinder program have yet to receive their compensation. The group said that this only shows the government’s unpreparedness for the ambitious K-12 program or the 12-year basic education program which features the kindergarten in its initial phase of implementation.

“We appreciate the effort of the DepEd especially Sec. Armin A. Luistro to institutionalize the kindergarten program, but never at the expense of the welfare of our teachers.” Added Policarpio.

The TDC has been lobbying for a free and universal pre-school education which according to them would eventually resolve learning discrepancies among pupils,  one of the major reasons for kids in dropping out from the primary school.

“If the government is sincere enough to reform and improve the public education system, it should have been manifested in the education budget for the 2012. Unfortunately, the government only set aside P1.9 billion allocation for pre-school program of the DepEd.” Policarpio furthered.

TDC members last week troop to the House of Representatives to lobby for a higher budget for education and an allocation of enough funds to cover the shortages in teachers, classrooms and books among others. They challenge the legislature and the president to raise the socio-economic status of teachers by providing decent salary and other incentives for them.

“While we appreciate the president’s recognition of teachers thru his proclamation of national teachers’ month, we challenge him to do more tangible and concrete measures to improve the system.” Policarpio ended. #
Emmalyn Policarpio
TDC Spokesperson

[Press Release] Teachers to hold protest for higher education budget – TDC

As lawmakers debate on the budget of several agencies today, teachers and other education advocacy groups will hold protest at the gates of Batasan and will bring their demand at the gallery of the House of Representatives.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that the proposed allocation for the Department of Education is insufficient to cover the actual needs of the field.

“If the government is sincere enough to resolve the perennial problems of the education sector, it must move decisively and it must be reflected in the proposed budget for the 2012.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s chairperson.

Basas added that while the DepEd is aware of these problems, yet the proposed budget is way below the need to answer the shortages of classrooms and other facilities and the very minimal compensation to teachers.

The group also noted that the 12-year basic education program (K-12), again did not get its rightful share of the department’s budget.

“The K-12 program, which is the flagship program of the Aquino government for education, did not get enough funds for its proper implementation. The current school year is a proof that we can never have a good kindergarten system without sufficient funding.” Basas explained.

Basas clarified that his group is behind DepEd in providing free and universal pre-school system but again challenged the government to adequately provide funding for its operation. “This would be the barometer of Aquino’s success or failure in education sector.” He furthered.

The group is very critical on the decision of the DepEd to prioritize the funding for GASTPE or Government Assistance for Students and Teachers of Private Education.

“The government allocated 6.3 billion for GASTPE while it only set aside 2.9 billion for hiring of 13, 000 teachers. If we slash even half of it, we could hire another 13, 000 teachers and that would mean a drastic 26, 000 response to a shortage of 99, 000 teachers for this school year and the figure increases annually.” Basas exclaimed.

The GASTPE which aims to decongest public schools by providing assistance in the form of subsidy to students of private schools has been getting bigger chunk of DepEd budget over the years.

“There must be an assessment of its impact. We call on the legislators to review the program and evaluate if this is a worthwhile spending. If not, then the funds must be allocated to a more meaningful and tangible investments like construction of classrooms and other facilities and hiring of teachers.”

TDC along with the Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net Philippines) and KAISA (Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan), a UP Diliman-based youth organization have been lobbying for higher state subsidy to education sector since the start of budget preparation of the agencies in February.

Some 50 teachers from Metro Manila’s public schools will gather at the north gate of Batasang Pambansa at 1:00PM and will proceed to the gallery right after their short program outside the complex. #

For details:

Benjo Basas, TDC Chairperson: 0920-5740241/385-3437
Thea Soriano, Executive Director, E-Net: 0908-9885281
Jico Ramos, Chairman, KAISA: 0917-5360423

[In the news] DepEd won’t tolerate child abuse – www.mb.com.ph

DepEd won’t tolerate child abuse

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) vowed Tuesday to get tougher on violence against children in schools to shield the students against abuse, exploitation and discrimination, including bullying and other forms of violence.

According to Education Secretary Armin Luistro, a more comprehensive child protection policy will soon be implemented by the DepEd to remind school personnel and the public – in general – that “corporal punishment and violence in any form is not allowed in public schools whether committed by adults or the children’s peers.”

Luistro reiterated that school personnel who commit such acts are violating the provisions of Batas Pambansa 232 and “that they can be held criminally liable including dismissal from the service.”

Meanwhile, Republic Act 7610 listed down acts that constitute child abuse and are therefore considered a criminal offense. This includes psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment. Also included is any act by deeds or words which debase, degrade or demean the worth and dignity of a child; unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival such as food and shelter; as well as failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting to serious impairment of his growth, permanent incapacity or death.

Read full article @ www.mb.com.ph

[Press Release] Teachers push for higher education budget – www.teachersdignity.com

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) is bringing the teachers’ clamor for higher education budget to the plenary of the House of Representatives on September 16, the date when the lawmakers deliberate the proposed 2012.

“For the longest time, the legislators and the past presidents were all aware that the allocation for education sector is inadequate, yet there was no drastic or at least considerable move to resolve the perennial problem of shortages of classrooms and other facilities and the very minimal compensation to our teachers.” Said Benjo Basas, a teacher from Caloocan City and the group’s chairperson.

Basas said they had a dialogue with Secretary Armin Luistro last week where they argued the need for higher allocation to hire more teachers and build more classrooms instead of giving the funds for PPP (Public Private Partnership) scheme like the GASTPE or the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers of Private Education. However, he said that the DepEd defended its budget proposal and said it will secure the GASTPE budget amounting to 6.3 billion for 2012.

“The single most important thing to be considered for 2012 in line with the government’s program is the kindergarten system. It is very ironic that while the Aquino administration considers this K-12 program as a flagship for the education sector, it only provides very minimal amount of 1.9 billion for pre-school education. How can we hire competent kinder teachers and where will we get funds to build kinder classrooms to at least 1 group of pre-schoolers per elementary school? That is around 38, 000 kinder class.” Basas explained.

The group also hit the government for providing too much for GASTPE program while giving little concern for other necessities especially those for the welfare of teachers; hiring more teachers, providing benefits and other incentives including the teaching aid or chalk allowance.

“The government allocated 6.3 billion for GASTPE while it only set aside 2.9 billion for hiring of 13, 000 teachers. If we slash even half of it, we could hire another 13, 000 teachers and that would mean a drastic 26, 000 response to a shortage of 99, 000 teachers for this school year. The figure increases annually.” Basas furthered.

He said that some of the benefits are actually provided by the existing laws like the medical examination and hospitalization for teachers which under the 1966 Magna Carta shall be given free to teachers.

“For these reasons, we are bringing the issue of budget to the plenary. We will mobilize teachers on September 16 when the lawmakers open the debates in the plenary.”

Tomorrow, September 12, teacher-leaders from NCR, Central Luzon and CALABARZON will have a forum at the Conference Hall of DepEd NCR in Quezon City to discuss and analyze the budget and plan for September 16 mobilization. #

Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chair 0920-5740241/ 3853437

[Event] TDC meets with Bro. Armin

Teachers’ Dignity Coalition
“Unity of Teachers to Regain the Dignity of Teaching Profession”
SEC Registration Number: CN 2007-10645
117-C Matatag St., Bgy. Central, Quezon City
Hotline: (02)3853437 • Telefax (02)4350036 • Mobile: 0920-5740241/ 0920-4142614
Email: teachersdignity@yahoo.com.ph • Website: http://www.teachersdignity.com


September 6, 2011

Activity:          TDC meeting with DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin A. Luistro
Date/Time:      September 7, Wenesday, 3:30PM
Venue:            OSEC Conference Hall. DepEd Central Office


1. Some 30 leaders of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) from Metro Manila and nearby provinces will meet the new DepEd Secretary Armin A. Luistro

2. The following matters will be tackled in the said meeting:

a.       Failure of the DepEd to provide free annual medical examination for teachers;
b.      Clarification on purchase of teachers’ official uniforms
c.       DepEd budget proposal for FY 2012
d.      DepEd Position on Positive and Non-Violent Discipline for Children Bill;
e.       Implementation of make-up classes in some areas DepEd Order No. 28, s. 2011;
f.       Payment for kindergarten teachers;
g.      Updates on GSIS records;

3. The teachers will also express their support for the activities in celebration of the national teachers’ month as per Presidential Proclamation 242 and they will also hold their own activities.

4. Initially, the following activities shall be part of TDC’s month-long celebration:

September 12  Forum-consultation on HB 4455 (Anti-corporal punishment Bill)

Education Budget for 2012 at DepEd NCR Conference Hall

October 3-7     Teachers and Education Situation Exhibit (Senate and HOR)

October 5        March to GSIS and Lobbying at the Halls of Senate

October 15      Cultural show/art exhibit in honor of teachers (Caloocan City)

(Other activities will also be held in the respective localities)

For details:
Benjo Basas, Chairperson                               0920-5740241/385-3437

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