Cebu teachers accuse DepEd superintendent of abuse of power

Teachers from a Cebu province school division called on the Department of Education (DepEd) - Central Visayas to look into what they called was the "abuse of power" of their division superintendent

On Thursday, September 23, public school teachers in Danao City, in northern Cebu, uploaded an open letter in the website ipetitions.org addressed to DepEd Central Visayas regional director Salustiano Jimenez. That open letter listed multiple complaints against Danao schools division superintendent Leah Noveras.

The letter was signed by 32 public school teachers in that division. The teachers also emailed their petition to Jimenez.

Jimenez told Rappler that he has received a copy of the petition. He said he would study the details of the petition.

In the open letter, the teachers accused Noveras of pressuring to resign faculty members who contracted COVID-19, terminating officials and non-teaching personnel without legitimate reasons, and imposing salary deductions on teachers who incurred absences without supporting medical certificates.

The teachers also alleged that Noveras disregarded Republic Act 8190 or An Act Granting Priority to Residents of the Barangay, Municipality or City Where the School is Located, in the Appointment or Assignment of Classroom Public School Teachers when she reassigned teachers to schools in the division.

Novares says accusations not true

Noveras denied the accusations in the petition.

"I do not have the authority to terminate a permanent government employee. I do not practice forced resignation but if there is intention to retire, then that's the time we process. I have not abused any authority delegated on me," Noveras told Rappler via Facebook messenger.

One of the teachers who requested not be named told Rappler that she also sent a letter to Jimenez after she was reassigned to a mountainous barangay, away from where she had already served almost a decade of teaching.

The teacher was a single mother and head of a household composed of her children and members of her extended family. She said in her letter that her salary grade made it impossible to commute to her assigned school and then return home to take care of her family every day.

In the petition, the teachers said that Noveras has "downgraded, disrespected, neglected and oppressed to the fullest extent" the magna carta for teachers.

As for accusations the she violated RA 8190, Novares said that the law can be used as a basis for reassignment among other reasons.

"The localization law is to be utilized mainly during the ranking process and assignment to schools. It can also be used as one of the basis for teachers seeking transfer to another station," said Novares.

She said the law was "absolutely applicable" for kindergarten and elementary public school teachers.

But for senior high school, Noveras told Rappler, the top consideration was the school's curricular offering and the specialization being offered. For junior high school, the teachers assignments depended on their majors and the needs of schools. – Rappler.com