Presidential bets urged: Include education sector woes in platforms

Presidential bets urged: Include education sector woes in platforms
This photo taken before the coronavirus pandemic hit shows a teacher in a classrooms with her students
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — A teachers' group urged presidential aspirants on Friday to take up problems in the education sector in their platforms for the 2022 elections. 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers issued the challenge as it said the Duterte administration "has abandoned us in the last five years, to the tragic detriment of our education system, its frontliners, and millions of youth."

"With the elections coming up, we intend to use our power as citizens to elect those who will take on our most pressing demands,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general. 

Among the group's call is for raising teachers' salaries, financial aid for teaching and non-teaching staff affected by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a P1,500 internet provision and laptop for teachers. 

ACT also urged candidates to commit to increasing the government's alloted budget for the education sector next year. 

The group has long called for funding to meet the recommendation by the United Nations Children's Fund, or 20% of the annual outlay or 6% of the country's gross domestic product to the sector. 

Further, members said the next president should address the problem of contratualization in the country, and lower the optional retirement age for teachers. 

“We are all aware of how President Duterte betrayed teachers by never fulfilling his promise to double their salaries," ACT added, "then attacked those who dared to hold him accountable. Such is the legacy of this administration."

ACT said it will seek a dialogue with presidential aspirants, specifically with Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. 

Early this month, Robredo bared her pandemic response plan in a bid to "free" the country from the ongoing health crisis. 

This included earmarking P68 billion for financial aid. Robredo also backed the safe reopening of schools in areas with low virus transmission. 

“We’ve written to them, and call on them to meet with us to discuss the state of our sector and to hopefully get their support," Basilio said.



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