An alliance of teachers defended its recent demand to hire more teachers and construct new classrooms to the Department of Education (DepEd).
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines (ACT) expressed this in response to DepEd’s views to address the problems of the education sector.
The education department previously announced its plans to hire more teachers every year.
ACT-Philippines then suggested employing 30,000 teachers each year until 2028. The group also said that this will need P14 billion budget to fulfill.
DepEd Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte, however, strongly disagreed with these calls.
For Duterte, they are “deceptive maneuvers” of ACT-Philippines “to counter the Marcos administration’s solution to the problems hounding the education sector.”
She also described them as “unrealistic” and “impossible.”
Moreover, Duterte also associated ACT-Philippines with recent violent incidents involving the New People’s Army (NPA) despite no evidence of it.
“Our objective is to eliminate elements that contribute to learning losses, effectively implement reforms, and exercise fiscal responsibility by using resources wisely through innovations and mechanisms that will improve learning,” she said.
Her statement then ended with: “Nice try, ACT Teachers.”
Reiteration of demands
ACT-Philippines reacted to this statement with “disgust” and “appall,” citing the legitimate needs of teachers it is voicing out to the department.
The alliance also explained that it has been proposing to increase the number of teachers and the construction of more classrooms for years.
“ACT’s demand to significantly increase the usual 5,000 new teachers being hired and 5,000 classrooms being built yearly [have] been as old as the education shortages in the country,” it said.
“We have repeatedly raised the call to previous regimes and to the current administration through letters, petitions, budget proposals and dialogues,” it also stated.
Moreover, the group also pointed out that the demands it raised were in direct response to DepEd’s own announcement to fund classroom construction and hiring teachers.
“The reiterations of our demands were in direct reaction to the recent DepEd pronouncements about soliciting for foreign and private funding for classroom construction, and hiring of new teachers. Our calls were made to weigh in the voice of our teachers on the current education policies and programs of [the] government,” ACT-Philippines said.
The shortage of classrooms and other education woes were also previously raised during the first week of the return of face-to-face classes in different parts of the Philippines last November.
READ: What DepEd can improve for better implementation of face-to-face classes | On 1st day of F2F classes, 7th graders in Manila sit on floor due to alleged armchair shortage | ‘Fix public transpo first’: Renewed call after LTO asked public ‘not to go too early’ at school
While some Filipinos cheered for Duterte’s perceived tough position on the matter, others criticized her remark “Nice try.” They perceived it rude and unprofessional for a high-ranking official of the government.
“Nag-suggest nga ng magandang plano, tas inatake pa smh [so much hate],” a Redditor said.
“Nothing against the VP pero sobrang disrespectful ng reply nya. (1) NPA was not the issue; (2) there’s something wrong with a leader who visualizes failure rather than possibilities and solutions; (3) a good leader knows how to listen,” one Twitter user said.
Other Filipinos also questioned the DepEd secretary’s reason for associating ACT-Philippines with the NPA in her statement.
They said that the organization is only expressing its proposals to solve the problems of the education system.