This shows the makeshift faculty room of Math teachers in Bacoor National High School. The room, according to teacher Maricel Herrera, was converted from an old restroom.
Facebook/Maricel Herrera
More schools report rest rooms turned faculty rooms, ACT says
(Philstar.com) - June 6, 2019 - 3:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — More teachers who use old restrooms turned into makeshift faculty rooms have come forward, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said, after Education Secretary Leonor Briones claimed that the reported case in Cavite is an isolated one.

On Thursday, ACT said it received reports from the following schools where teachers converted comfort rooms to faculty rooms:

  • Maligaya High School, Quezon City
  • Sergio Osmeña High School, Quezon City
  • Bagong Silangan Elementary School, Quezon City
  • Villamor High School, Manila
  • Calderon High School, Manila

At the start of the 2019 school year for public schools, the Department of Education is confronted with yet another problem after Maricel Herrera, Bacoor National High School’s faculty association president, uploaded on Facebook photos of an old restroom transformed into a faculty room.

The post has since gone viral, and the school’s principal, Anita Rom, threatened to file a complaint against Herrera for supposedly besmirching the school and DepEd’s image.

READ: ACT condemns principal’s threat to sue teacher over post on CR turned faculty room

Briones was quoted in media interviews as saying that it was the teachers’ choice to renovate the restroom to become their faculty room. She said they could also choose to remodel the school’s laboratory.

“It is more dramatic, touching if you hold it in toilets,” she added.

ACT also said teachers shelled out from their meager salary to remodel the restrooms.

“Common to the cases is that teachers chipped in their own money to have the CRs remodelled and [furniture] provided so that they may have a space to do duties outside of actual teaching,” it said.

READ: ‘There are proper procedures in addressing welfare woes,’ DepEd tells teachers

'Funds for remodeling of restrooms from teachers' pockets'

ACT Chairperson Joselyn Martinez pointed out that teachers had to set up makeshift faculty rooms in comfort rooms or under stairways “due to the lack of budgeted and designated areas for them.”

She added that Briones’ remarks just prove that the Education department “does not intend to give teachers any dignity.”

“Teachers are the last that should be lectured about vocation and Sec. Briones should be the last person to do so since her P3.9 million 2018 income [bereft] her of any moral ascendancy on the matter,” Martinez said.

She added: “Unlike her, teachers live on poor pay but our dedication to our students and to the country drives us [every day] to continue teaching and make up for the government deficiencies, even if that means ending up deep in debt and with no pension left to support us when it’s our time to rest.”

Duterte, in January, promised to increase the salary of teachers within the year, but the school calendar year has already opened this week and teachers have yet to receive a raise.

The Palace has promised that Duterte would not renege on his promise and asked for more time.

ACT said teachers should participate in the government’s preparation for the salary hike.

"How difficult is it for DepEd to back teachers on their demand for a decent life? They'd rather think about private school owners who lose teachers because they pay poorly than their own employees who give body and soul just to make the schools run," lamented Martinez.

"We don't deserve to be painted as a whiny, selfish, materialistic bunch for asserting our rights. Maybe that is why the secretary would not support our call for pay hike, she thinks very lowly of us," she added.

— Kristine Joy Patag; Photos courtesy of ACT 

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION LEONOR BRIONES
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