SONA 2020

Teachers group asks Duterte to detail ‘clear commitments’ to education during SONA

Bonz Magsambol
Teachers group asks Duterte to detail ‘clear commitments’ to education during SONA

'CLEAR COMMITMENTS'. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers demands President Rodrigo Duterte to detail "clear commitments" to education sector duiing his 5th State of the Nation Address.

'Four years into the Duterte presidency, the education sector continues to suffer a state of abandonment, evidenced by his scarce resource allocation to the sector year after year,' says the Alliance of Concerned Teachers

Three days before President Rodrigo Duterte gives his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA), a teachers group asked him to detail “clear commitments” to the education sector.

“It is our most urgent demand that President Duterte detail clear commitments, including and especially resource provisions, to education in his [5th] State of the Nation Address,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said in a statement on Friday, July 24.

“Four years into Duterte’s presidency, the education sector continues to suffer a state abandonment, evidenced by his scarce resource allocation to the sector year after year,” ACT added.

ACT said that the government failed to address perennial shortages in textbooks, classrooms, vital facilities, teaching personnel, among others, despite receiving a “lion’s share” of funds every year. Teachers have been shelling out money from their own pockets just to fill the gaps.

According to ACT, instead of giving teachers “due recognition and renumeration,” Duterte repeatedly failed to give the promised salary increase.

“After falling short of his countless promises and duties to the education sector, education workers and learners will now be sent to danger as the school opening looms despite the raging pandemic and without sufficient preparations and safety nets,” ACT said.

Despite calls to delay classes, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that classes would open on August 24 “whatever form it is.”

Many have criticized the DepEd’s decision to open schools in the middle of a health crisis.

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The DepEd decided to shift to distance learning for the coming school year to comply with the President’s directive for schools to postpone face-to-face classes until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

On Tuesday, July 21, Duterte allowed the conduct of “limited” face-to-face classes in low-risk areas even as the COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise.

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Limited face-to-face class will be implemented in January 2021.

“One month before classes resume, President Duterte has not lifted a finger to help education agencies optimize their learning continuity programs amid this crisis, without sacrificing constituents’ health and basic rights,” ACT said.

Despite the pandemic, Duterte will deliver his 5th SONA at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City on Monday, July 27. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.