MANILA, Philippines – Private schools have asked the government to help teachers affected by the coronavirus lockdown throughout the country.
A total of 409,757 teachers, faculty, and school personnel in private educational institutions nationwide are affected by the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country, according to the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea).
“They are either receiving reduced pay now or they are no longer being paid at all due to ‘no work no pay’ scheme,” Cocopea managing director JosephNoel Estrada told Rappler on Monday, April 27.
The government has extended the lockdown in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon to May 15. Outside Luzon, lockdowns have also been implemented in Cebu province, Cebu City, Iloilo province, and Davao City, until May 15.
Estrada said that if classes will not resume by August, several schools will be on the verge of closing down due to losses.
JR Dona, ATING GURO secretary-general, said in a statement sent to media on Tuesday, April 28, that “most of the teachers in private schools are hired through contracts.”
“They are among those who are considered as ‘no work, no pay’ workers and they need the help both from the government and their employers to be able to survive this crisis,” he said.
Dona, however, said that “teachers who are continually hired in private schools for more than a year should not be subjected to the ‘no work, no pay’ scheme for they should be considered as permanent employees and should at least be given assistance by their employers.”
Financial aid for teachers
Both groups have asked the government to automatically include private school teachers in the emergency subsidy program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) (READ: DSWD admits ‘shortcomings’ in emergency fund distribution)
Estrada said the Department of Education has been lobbying for the inclusion of private school teachers in the program.
“Secretary Briones, during our meeting, reiterated the proposal of including our teachers in the social amelioration program,” Estrada said. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Challenges facing social amelioration for the coronavirus)
Cocopea also asked the government to extend its teachers’ salary subsidy program to include elementary and senior high school teachers.
At present, the government program only includes private junior high school teachers as they were contracted to supplement the public school enrollees through the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program.
“If possible, we’re asking them to expand the coverage to senior high school and elementary teachers. The highest amount they can get is P18,500 per year. At least this would somehow adds to their income,” Estrada said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Meanwhile, ATING Guro and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition have asked the government to include the teachers in the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program (CAMP).
DOLE said in an earlier advisory that it only had P1.5 billion for CAMP.
DOLE earlier said it would need an additional budget of P9.4 billion if it were to provide financial subsidy to all Filipino workers, both at home and abroad, who are affected by the coronavirus crisis.
On April 24, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the government task force on the coronavirus to move the class opening for school year 2020-2021 to September.
The Department of Education (DepEd), however, said that it is still eyeing August as class opening for the next school year.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan earlier said that the opening of school year 2020-2021 “does not necessarily mean that students will be coming to school.”
The DepEd is also considering information communication technology (ICT) platforms, television, and radio in delivering lessons during the coronavirus crisis.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines recorded nearly 8,000 cases of coronavirus, including 530 deaths and 975 recoveries. – Rappler.com