Teachers group, 30 years of militancy
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — According to Dr. Erlinda Castro Palaganas, chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Metro Baguio (ACT-MB), the largest militant teachers organization of the country have fought for the rights and welfare of public educators and have able to achieve meaningful gains in the past 30 years.ACT, said Palaganas during a press conference here, succeeded in bringing the teacher’s voice to congress when ACT Teachers Partylist won a seat in the House of Representatives. And in less than 3 years in Congress, ACT Teachers was able to file numerous bills and many of them are already enacted into law.
Palaganas said that last year, ACT had been able to fight for the increase of the chalk allowance of the teachers from P700 to P1,000. She also cited a special provision enacted into law authored by the partylist mandating the regularization of qualified contractual and volunteer teachers in basic education.
ACT Teachers at present, Palaganas said, is pushing for House Bill 2142 or an act upgrading the minimum salary of public school teachers from salary grade 11 to 15. Once HB 2142 be enacted, the starting salary of public teachers which at present amounts to P17,099 a month will increase to P24,887 a month. She said the bill was already signed by 181 representatives and hopefully that it will be approved when Congress reopens in July.
One of the campaigns of the teachers’ alliance, Palaganas continued, is stopping the implementation of the K+12. She said that adding more years is not the solution of raising the quality of Philippine education. “Hindi sa taon nasasagot,” (It is not a matter of extending the years of education) she empahized. She explained that in the Cordillera alone, there are many basic issues that the government should address like the lack of classrooms, the teacher-student ratio. She said that the ideal class size is 25 to 30 students. “But the actual is one teacher to 84 students,” she stressed.
The ACT-MB chairperson said that for every 100 elementary pupils, only 66 will graduate where only 58 will to go to High School. She continued that 43 out of 58 will finish their secondary education while 23 out of the 43 will be able to enroll in college where only 14 of them will graduate. She added that not all of the 14 will surely be employed. She said that the very issue has not yet been addressed.
Organisasyon dagiti Nakukurapay nga Umili ti Syudad-Kalipunan ng mga Damayang Mahihirap-Metro Baguio (Ornus-Kadamay-MB) Secretary General Daisy Bagni said that K+12 is torture to the urban poor. She said many poor parents can no longer think of other sources of income to ensure that they can fund the additional years of schooling. “Dayta K+12 ket nayon lang a gastos kadagiti agpapaeskuwela nga agprobproblema garuden iti paggatang da kadagiti libro ken dadduma a kasapulan ti annak da,” (That K+12 is only an additional expense for the parents who are sending their kids to school who are much burdened where will they get money to buy the books and other school needs of their children) said Bagni.
“Ibasura muna ang K+12 at tugunan ang mga isyung dapat bigyan ng pansin,” (the implementation of K+12 should be scrapped for the moment and the issues that should be addressed be resolved) said Palaganas.
ACT was established in June 26, 1982. # nordis.net