Ifugao teachers call for salary hike
By BRANDON LEE/ACT-IFUGAO
LAGAWE, Ifugao–On December 18th more than 80 teachers and district supervisors attended the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Ifugao Assembly and Legislative Forum in Lagawe Central School on the theme “Uphold and Defend Teachers’ Welfare!”
During the assembly, ACT Teachers’ National Campaign Coordinator, Vladimir Quetua introduced HB 2142, a bill that seeks to increase starting teachers salary from grade 11 to grade 15. He asked teachers to become active in campaigning for government officials to sponsor the bill and fight for teachers’ basic rights.
Over 60 house representatives already committed to co-sponsoring the bill including Representatives Roilo Golez, Mong Palatino, Teddy Casiño, Emmy de Jesus, Luz Ilagan, Rafael Mariano, Lucy Torres Gomez, J.V. Ejercito, Emmy Calixto, and Emil Ong.
The government’s priority, however, has been in favor of military spending while cutting the education budget in the 2011 spending bill.
“President Aquino issued an executive order that more than doubles the combat pay of military personnel. Education is always touted as the number one priority of our nation but teachers remain underpaid. When will we be recognized for our commitment and service to our nation?” Daniel Tayaban, ACT-Ifugao’s elected convener demanded.
Ifugao Governor Eugene Balitang’s office sent a representative to attend the forum. “We will support HB 2142 and encourage our Congressman Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. to do the same,” the representative said in solidarity with all teachers seeking fair wages.
Moreover, Quetua expressed dismay that teachers were still paying to renew their Teacher’s ID every three years despite DepEd memorandum to cease Teacher’s ID renewal. Teachers called the renewal bureaucratic and pointless.
Teachers also aired their grievances towards the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and declared the system broken and harmful for teachers. Teachers are forced to shoulder the bureaucratic problems such as the rotating ID systems (e-card to Umid-card), and failing to deduct payments of loans because the GSIS systems are not computerized and personnel files are not updated.
“There are delay in remittances & premiums, and no refunds for overpayments of loans that burden teachers. We are disappointed that the problems with the GSIS have not been addressed over the years despite our complaints. Our problems should be addressed by our government and not ignored”, said Zeny Hangdaan, a teacher in the province.
A representative of GSIS from Bayombong asked the teachers to be patient and to support the new management. He told the crowd of teachers he would look into opening up a kiosk in Lagawe to make claims easier to file, however, did not offer any solutions to the bureaucratic problems teachers faced.
Ifugao Teachers have to go to Bayombong or Baguio to file their claims and make loan payments. According to Teachers present, there are log-jams in Bayombong so they are referred to the Baguio office to make their loan payments, however many teachers can not afford the luxury of travelling everytime to make loan payments of file their claims.
The Teachers elected their district, elementary, and high school coordinators and Provincial Convener for ACT-Ifugao. The District supervisors will document complaints and recommendations to uphold the welfare of teachers while holding trainings and educational discussions in the coming year.# nordis.net