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Marcos Vows To Prioritize Welfare Of Teachers

Marcos Vows To Prioritize Welfare Of Teachers
A teacher leads the singing of the national anthem in a school in Macabebe, Pampanga during the first day of in-person classes while in ankle-deep floods due to high tide. Photo by Reuters

President Marcos joined various sectors on Thursday, Oct. 5, in paying tribute to teachers, citing their role in educating the youth.

“Happy World Teachers’ Day to our educators, to whom our nation owes an immeasurable debt. We recognize your sacrifices for our youth and assure you that we will prioritize your welfare and that of your families,” the President said in a Facebook post.

In a separate post on Oct. 1, Marcos called teachers “heroes of children’s education.”

“As we thank you for all that you do, we also continue to work harder to improve your lives. The Marcos-Duterte administration will remain hard at work in addressing the needs of our schools, our teachers, and our students,” he said.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte led the World Teachers’ Day celebration in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte on Thursday, saying “as we celebrate you, we also acknowledge the challenges that you face.”

“Teaching is not an easy profession. It requires patience, dedication, and a genuine love for nurturing young minds. You teachers often work tirelessly, going above and beyond your call of duty to ensure that every student receives the attention and education they deserve,” Duterte said, encouraging teachers to be strong.

Meanwhile, teachers, education workers and students marched toward the Mendiola Peace Arch in Manila on Thursday to mark World Teacher’s Day and assert their “longstanding” demands for the government to better living and working conditions for teachers, non-teaching staff and students in schools.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the largest organization of teachers’ unions and associations in the country, the group demanded that the government increase the salaries and improve the benefits of teachers and education workers.

According to ACT, the Department of Education needs to hire 30,000 teachers every year for five years to address the shortage of teachers and build 50,000 additional classrooms every year for the same period.

A total of 94,000 education support personnel nationwide are also needed to unburden teachers with administrative work.

“We are here to charge the government for its continued failure to address the recommendations of the International Labor Organization regarding the plight of teachers – recommendations that became the basis for the declaration of October 5 as the international day of Teachers,” ACT chairman Vladimer Quetua said.

Aside from these, ACT also demanded the government to abolish confidential funds and rechannel the government’s proposals to education and other basic services.

Doing so, ACT said, could help the government build 4,056 classrooms, repair 20,280 classrooms, and purchase 87,038 armchairs and 289,329 laptops.

Finally, ACT said the government needs to stop profiling teachers and violating their right to unionize, as well as to junk the K to 12 curriculum and the forthcoming revised K to 10 curriculum dubbed “Matatag.”

“We call on the Philippine government to immediately act on our seven-point demands that will benefit not only our teachers but the entire education sector and even our society in general,” added Quetua.

The All UP Academic Employees Union also said that the government needs to fund free college education and restore the P6.155-billion budget cuts on state universities and colleges.

“On World Teachers’ Day, we should be reminded that schools are temples of knowledge not arenas of surveillance. The Secretary of Education must be a teacher, not a centurion,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, president of the opposition Liberal Party, said.

The National Teachers’ Month started last Sept. 5 and will end on Oct. 5.

World Teachers’ Day, celebrated every Oct. 5, commemorates the anniversary of adopting the 1966 International Labor Organization-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recommendation setting the benchmark on the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their employment and teaching and learning conditions.