Story of teacher who saved her students during Mindanao earthquake renewed calls for higher salary of public school teachers

November 4, 2019 - 9:07 AM
A damaged local town hall is seen in Mabini, Davao Del Sur, Philippines after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck
A damaged local town hall is seen in Mabini, Davao Del Sur, Philippines after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck Octiber 29, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. (Jaypee Catalan via Reuters)

The story of a teacher who was severely injured after saving her students during the earthquake in Mindanao prompted fresh calls for the need to raise their salaries.

The teacher’s son, a certain Mark Ajero, posted about it on October 29. It was soon picked up by several media outlets when it gained traction online.

Based on Ajero’s post, his mother Erlinda Ajero rescued her students from falling debris amid the strong earthquake by embracing them as she led them out of the school.

Parts of the wall of the school hit her and caused her to black out. She just later woke up inside the evacuation center.

Ajero said she was a teacher at Rodero Day Care Center in Makilala in North Cotabato.

He asked prayers for his mother’s recovery and other students who got injured.

“Sa sobrang lakas ng lindol, niyakap nalang daw niya ang mga bata sa loob ng room kaya siya tinamaan ng pag collapse ng wall. Pray for her recovery and sa mga day care pupil na na injured din,” he said in the post.

Please pray for my Mom :(My mother, ERLINDA AJERO,is a day care teacher sa Rodero Day Care Center sa Rodero, Makilala,…

Posted by MarkyMark Masamloc Ajero on Monday, October 28, 2019

Messages of support and praises poured out to Erlinda when Ajero’s post made rounds online.

Some Filipinos cited this incident as among the many reasons public school teachers deserve a raise in their income.

Ajero detailed to ABS-CBN that when his mother was about to return inside to rescue one student who was left behind, several hollow blocks fell on her head. He said she sustained four wounds on the head.

Although the doctor assured him that the injuries were not serious, Ajero said his mother was still in pain because of the injuries.

For those who wished to help, Ajero provided this number—09092292967.

North Cotabato became the epicenter of two earthquakes that affected several parts of Mindanao in the past week, a magnitude 6.6 quake on October 29 and another 6.5 magnitude tremor last October 31.

Thousands of families were reportedly displaced across the region. Authorities warned residents to prepare for aftershocks.

As of publication, another 4.2-magnitude aftershock struck the province, according to PHIVOLCS.

Protests for base pay

Hundreds of public school teachers in different parts of the country participated in a nationwide protest to demand for a P30,000 base salary during the start of the National Teacher’s Month last October.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) led this coordinated activities called “30K challenge” wherein groups of teachers made a 30K human formation outside their schools or along the streets.

One of the largest formations was captured and shared by Kadao Productions along Mendio in Manila as part of the World Teacher’s Day on October 4.

LOOK: Teachers execute the biggest "30K" human formation to dramatize their demand for at least P30,000 entry level salary as they commemorate World Teachers' Day at Mendiola this afternoon.

Posted by Kodao Productions on Friday, October 4, 2019

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) also sought for a P10,000 across-the-board salary hike to the Department of Education as implementation of the Magna Carta for Public Teachers.

Teachers’ groups were disappointed when they the education agency gave them discounts and perks that month, rather than the much-needed changes in their income.

Last September, President Rodrigo Duterte proposed to increase their salaries without indicating when the adjustment would take place during one of his speeches.

“It’s coming, their increases. But not doubled. There are a lot more teachers, my God. But it is forthcoming,” Duterte said.

“The last time they were discussing was about 35 (percent) but it could be more, I do not know,” he added.