‘Dating guro’ goes back to classroom teaching
By Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC)
Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairperson Benjo Basas will again go back to school as a classroom teacher. Since the year 2006 when the TDC was formed and he was chosen at its spokesperson, he has become very active in teachers’ movement.
Tomorrow, June 9, Basas will again go back to his first love- classroom teaching.
He began teaching after graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Social Sciences in Philippine Normal University (PNU) in 1999. Since then, he spent all his years teaching, 10 years of which were spent in Baesa High School, Caloocan City, his alma mater.
On October 2012, Basas was declared resigned ipso facto after he was chosen as the first nominee of ATING GURO Partylist.
Batang Public School
Benjo Basas graduated in Sta. Qiuteria Elementary School and Baesa High School, both in Caloocan. He then studied Bachelor of Secondary Education in PNU, Manila where he got involved in campus politics and literary circle.
He became a writer for The Torch publication and a student-activist who later joined Kalipunan ng Malayang Kabataan (KAMALAYAN), a breakaway of League of Filipino Students (LFS).
He graduated in 1999 and began teaching while doing a freelance writing. He had a 3-year experience in private schools and year 2002, entered public school system as a permanent teacher in Baesa High School, Caloocan City, his alma mater
Due to active involvement and presence in teachers’ events that time, he was chosen as the spokesperson of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) in year 2006 when the group, a supposed loose coalition to push for salary increase of teachers was formed
The network of teachers under the TDC decided to transform the group from a mere ‘coalition’ to a formal ‘organization’ with own by-laws and set of officers where Basas, again chosen as Chairperson. The name TDC with the word ‘Coalition’ however, was retained (actually a misnomer)
Basas was elected National Chairperson during the TDC’s 1st National Convention held in Manila in October 2009 and was re-elected in the same position during the 2nd National Convention in Pampanga in November 2012.
Since the year 2006, TDC a new player in Philippine teachers’ movement caught the attention of the government, the media and the teachers. With the practical yet politically correct stand on education and socio-political issues and creative means of bringing out the concerns of education sectors, the TDC has differed itself from traditional organizations of teachers- both the traditional militants and the traditional conservatives.
ATING GURO Partylist
In 2011, because of the necessity to be represented by someone from public school, ATING GURO Partylist was formed in Manila by several organizations of education employees, teachers and some administrators and Basas was elected as one of the members of National Council.
ATING GURO Partylist submitted its petition for accreditation with Basas as its first nominee for the May 2013 midterm elections. The party believes that a public school teacher could best represent the education in the halls of Congress, thus the chose Basas, real teacher, in public basic education. The group further knows that only a teacher can understand the language of the teachers and felt their everyday experiences as well as their aspirations. Aside from that, the representative must be someone who is coming from the sector and a marginalized in its strict sense.
Basas, who was then a teacher in Baesa High School needs more time to focus on organizational work. Thus, he filed a 3-month leave of absence in DepEd from August to November (or until such time that the Comelec would declare a leave of absence for appointive government employees and officials who accepted nominations for party list because Comelec it its February 21, 2012 resolution explicitly exempts party list nominees from automatic resignation).
In October25, 2012, the Comelec granted the Petition for Accreditation of ATING GURO but was only pronounced in media on December 5, 2012 along with 3 other parties, the last batch of accreditation. The Comelec however declared Basas as resigned- ipso facto as early as October 5, 2012, the supposed deadline of submission of certificate of candidacy for other positions for May 2013 elections. The group questioned the automatic resignation, according to them, how come that a nominee of a party list be resigned from his incumbent appointive position as public school teacher on October 5, when in fact, the accreditation of his party was just decided on October 25 and pronounced on December 5.
After an inquiry was made, the Comelec said they reviewed the February resolution and amended the provision that exempts appointive government employees and officials from automatic resignation. Thus, since October 5, 2012, Basas is no longer connected with the Department of Education and worked full time for TDC and eventually for election bid of ATING GURO
ATING GURO campaign
Since August 2012, Basas received nothing but P5,000.00 allowance from the TDC, an additional P10, 000 was given by ATING GURO Partylist from period February to June 2013 or for the campaign months.
Since Basas is a public school teacher, married to another public school teacher, Ana Liza of Bagong Barrio National High School also in Caloocan and has two young children, the situation becomes challenging, economically. The couple both came from poor families of origin and has no other income or inheritance. They do not even own a house and, until now are transients in a single-room apartment in Caloocan City.
But being a true-blue activist whose principle is “payak na pamumuhay at puspusang pakikibaka,” Basas and his family survived with the help of close friends and relatives.
ATING GURO members believe no doubt that theirs is the poorest partylist in May 2013 elections and their first nominee, also the poorest nominee. The election was another challenge, with no adequate funds to wage a national campaign, ATING GURO depended largely on TDC membership. From funds contribution to production of materials to physical manpower of house to house campaign, leaflets distribution and operation dikit up to monitoring of votes and counting.
The initial result of their suffering was rewarding. In a survey released in papers few weeks before the election day, ATING GURO was one of the parties who will be assured of one seat. This however, did not make them confident and actually motivated them to work on the double.
In one of the campaign meetings, a teacher from Cavite, joked about PDAF and said, ‘Sir pag naupo ka hatian mo ako sa pork barrel mo ha.’ IN which Basas replied, “Naku Sir, anti-pork barrel po ang TDC at ATING GURO.” Said teacher, during the height of PDAF scam August last year recalled the conversation and posted it as a status in his Facebook account.
Won but not proclaimed
The Election day was both tensed and liberating. After 90 days of campaign, TDC and ATING GURO members would just wait for the result of the elections which was overall, exciting. ATING GURO did very well in initial canvass reports and consistently placed within top 45, the ‘winning group.’ When the Comelec began proclaiming initial winners, ATING GURO maintained its position.
But when the Supreme Court ruled against further proclamations in response to the petition of the ‘winning’ but disqualified parties Abang Lingkod and Senior Citizens, the chance for proclamation of AGBIAG, APPEND, ANAC-IP, ATING GURO and PBA becomes dim. However, the Comelec through Chairman Brillantes declared that if the high court would act favorably on the appeal for requalification of Abang Lingkod and Senior Citizens which will be reserved a total of three seats, the poll body would take away ‘excess seats’ from several top parties granted more than 1 seat. Still, an assurance that ATING GURO would eventually be proclaimed.
Finally on July 2013, the court overturned the Comelec decision disqualifying ABANG LINGKOD and Senior Citizens and ordered the poll body to eventually proclaim these parties. The supposed reserved seats were not taken away from those who were granted excess seats but to those who are at the bottom, and ATING GURO is one of them.
Thus on January 2014, after thorough studies and legal researches, ATING GURO along with other parties filed the petition questioning the proclamation of excess seats of 5 parties namely BUHAY, AGAP, CIBAC, MAGDALO and AN WARAY. The petition’s lead counsel, Atty. Salvador Britanico argued that the 1ST nominees of ALIF, ATING GURO, PBA, AANGAT TAYO and KASANGGA should have been proclaimed instead of the 3rd nominee of Buhay and the 2nd nominees of four others, with or without the disqualification of ABANG LINGKOD and SENIOR CITIZENS.
ATING GURO and TDC members when ask on the result of elections would reply “we won but not proclaimed.”
Basas, who still serves as chairman and spokesperson of the TDC was actually subject to criticism from some unfriendly forces, at time calling him DATING GURO. But he considers everything as necessary sacrifice.
Back to teaching
Recognizing the sluggish judicial system in the country, Basas and his comrades do not expect for an immediate favorable response from the court. It is a known fact that election-related cases often met resolutions several days before the next elections.
Basas after the one-year ban for those who participated to recent elections applied to become a teacher in DepEd Caloocan. Just like any other new applicants, he underwent the process of application and ranking for teacher 1 position. He filed pertinent documents to a school of his choice, lined-up for demonstration teaching and interview and took English proficiency test.
When the registry of qualified applicants (RQA) was released, he was ranked # 2 for Social Studies teachers and was given an advice to a teaching position in Baesa High School, his original station on June 4, Wednesday. Upon submission of the first day of report to the school, the school principal asked him to return the paper to the division office and that signals his official return to DepEd system as a certified public school teacher.
He was assigned to handle Araling Panlipunan class in 5 sections of Grade 7. However since Baesa High School implements the 3-day scheme, he will only meet his class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And last Friday, June 6, with much excitement he came to school only to find out that he would only meet 2 classes, the other 3 have no classrooms of their own and were fused with other sections to save space while the rooftop, which serves as temporary classroom is under repair.
Things have actually change based on his initial observations. The curriculum of first year students now is under K-12, in which he was not trained for. He will also teach Asian History and not Philippine History in first year (grade 7) as he was used into.
Tomorrow, Monday Basas would finally meet his class and will begin his classroom teaching once again.
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)4446564 • Mobile: 0920-5740241/ 0920-4142614
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Website: http://www.teachersdignity.com
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.