Bacolod City

Bacolod teachers hail Sara Duterte’s resignation, call for raise, reforms

Erwin Delilan

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Bacolod teachers hail Sara Duterte’s resignation, call for raise, reforms

VOCAL. A 2023 photo of Bacolod City National High School principal Richard Gelangre shows him addressing scholars.

Richard Gelangre FB page

(1st UPDATE) Leaders of Bacolod teachers' groups cite some reasons why many of them welcome Sara Duterte's resignation

BACOLOD, Philippines – Leaders of public school teachers’ organizations in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental heaved a sigh of relief when Vice President Sara Duterte resigned as education secretary on Wednesday, June 19, calling her unfit for the cabinet position.

Richard Gelangre, a principal of Bacolod City National High School (BCNHS), said Duterte’s resignation, although it would take effect in July, felt liberating.

“She is not fit to be DepEd (Department of Education) secretary because of her many inconsistencies,” said Gelangre, who is the president of the Bacolod Public Schools Teachers’ Federation (BPSTF).

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VP Sara Duterte resigns as DepEd secretary

VP Sara Duterte resigns as DepEd secretary

Grace Abellar, a teacher at the Cabugwason Elementary School in Mansilingan, Bacolod, and secretary general of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in Negros Occidental, said Duterte’s resignation was a “welcome development” for public school teachers who were dismayed about the way she handled the education crisis especially on reading aspects.

Abellar said the worst thing that happened was when Duterte got embroiled in the confidential fund controversy, which had a negative impact on DepEd’ s image, while teachers were asking for increases in their salaries.

Abellar said nothing much has been done to improve the education department since the Vice President assumed as its secretary.

“She also failed to grant teachers’ request for a raise, and hear their plea,” she said.

Gelangre said many public school teachers in Bacolod resent Duterte because she didn’t heed their call to increase teachers’ salaries.

Instead, he said, teachers who were pushing for salary increases and moving the school opening back to June found themselves red-tagged.

With Duterte’s resignation, organized public school teachers in Bacolod would pursue their demand for wage increases, with the entry-level salary for Level 1 teachers at P50,000 a month and P33,000 for non-teaching personnel, according to Gelangre.

“We will also lobby for more support like learning tablets for students and laptops for teachers,” he said.

Gelangre said they hoped that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. would consider appointing someone who rose from the ranks in the DepEd to be the next education secretary. Such a person, he said, would “understand the problems of the public school system.”

He said Duterte’s stance or silence on many controversial issues hounding the country was disappointing, given that she was DepEd secretary.

While DepEd was parroting the message, “We dream of Filipinos who passionately love their country,” under Duterte, the Vice President kept mum over China’s actions against Filipinos at the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Worse, Gelangre said, was Duterte’s consistent defense of fugitive Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy, who is wanted in connection with cases of child abuse and human trafficking.

He noted that the Vice President once described the investigation into the alleged abuses of Quiboloy and his group as “unfair,” “trial by publicity,” and criticized the police about the way they tried to catch the fugitive preacher in Davao City.

Gelangre said Duterte’s position on Quiboloy was inconsistent with DepEd’s mission on child protection.

He also said the unexplained spending of P125 million in intelligence funds in just 11 days in 2022 has continued to hound the Vice President to this day.

“This is totally against DepEd’s policy, which is honesty is the best policy,” Gelangre said.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN) said Duterte’s resignation from the cabinet and as vice chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) signaled an intensification of the factional strife in the Marcos Jr. administration.

“We can only surmise that the conflict between the Marcos and Duterte factions will intensify from hereon, from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the 2025 midterm elections. But while the two reactionary factions of the ruling elite slug it out well before the mid-term elections, the people are still reeling from severe economic and political crises,” read part of the statement of the Negros-based human rights watchdog.

Former Negros Occidental governor Rafael  Coscolluela said Duterte apparently has new plans that could mean more political discord. 

“But what really matters now is finding an education secretary who can transform DepEd and effectively address our education crisis,” Coscolluela said. –

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