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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Teachers’ group pushes DepEd to issue policy directive on ‘six-hour workday’

A teachers’ group urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to issue policy directing the implementation of the six-hour workday with uniformity before the closing of the current school year.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that this is a “very opportune time” for the DepEd management to deliver its commitment. “We are willing to sit down to discuss the details and agree on its implementation,” TDC national chairperson Benjo Basas said. “The school year is closing and we expect that clear-cut guidelines will be enforceable nationwide by June 2019,” he added.

TDC noted that as early as 2008, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) – in a resolution – has ordered the DepEd to release guidelines on the “Six-Hour Workday” or the requirement to stay in their school for only six hours. “The two hours intended to accomplish other tasks incidental to normal teaching duties may be brought home or anywhere the teacher wants,” said Basas. However, he lamented that the DepEd “failed to implement the resolution” despite the two subsequent issuances from former Secretary Jesli Lapus in 2008 and 2009 – through DepEd Memorandum 291 and DepEd Order 16, respectively.
“Until now, many teachers are forced to stay in their respective schools for 8 hours or more, even without classes or official functions,” Basas said. “This issue has been a perennial problem in most schools and has always been the reason for conflicts in schools between teachers and administrators,” he added.
While TDC recognizes that some schools have their peculiarities, “we believe that the default policy should be uniform and applicable to all schools and not just in Metro Manila and CALABARZON or in areas where teachers are brave enough to engage the management in dialogues or fight,” he explained.
Adopt practice
The TDC is looking at the model of DepEd CALABARZON to be used nationwide.
Last September, at the height of the TDC’s protest that led to a two-week picket in front of DepEd Central Office in Pasig City, DepEd CALABARZON regional director Dr. Diosdado San Antonio called for a meeting-consultation with the teacher-leaders of the region and came up with a solution.
Basas said that the TDC-CALABARZON “proposed measures” to ensure the proper implementation of Six-Hour Workday. According to Ritchie Salubre, a teacher in Dasmarinas City and president of TDC CALABARZON, these measures involve requiring “the principals to submit a written declaration that they are compliant, in case of complaint, the same document can be used against them for administrative cases” and to “stop the requirements for the submission of means of verification (MOVs) for the two hours rendered outside the school premises.”
Salubre added that after the meeting with DepEd CALABARZON officials, the regional office adopted their proposals and now contained in Regional Memorandum 550, s. 2018 released by San Antonio on September 20, 2018. DepEd Regional Offices in CARAGA and Bicol followed suit in October and November, respectively.
“But still, some schools are not compliant with the recent order. In this instance, the DepEd must show its sincerity and firm resolve to call those who are defiant to its policy,” Salubre said. “Surely, this will make a big difference in an effort to enhance the teachers’ rights and welfare,” he added.
TDC said that the nationwide implementation of the six-hour workday is one of the Seven Demands presented by the TDC to Secretary Leonor Briones. In 2018, one of the reasons why TDC transformed the national teachers’ month into a “month of protests” – which included mass actions and a campout in DepEd office from September 24 to October 5 – is the non-implementation of the six-hour workday.
In a statement issued by DepEd earlier, it noted that “due to the continuing clamor to strictly implement the six-hour workday for teachers, DepEd will release a DepEd Memorandum (DM) reiterating provisions stated in DM No. 291 s. 2008 and DepEd Order (DO) No. 16, s. 2009, with specific instructions that: teachers who choose to render the remaining two hours of work outside the school premises must not be subjected to salary deductions and teachers should not be required to submit means of verification (MOVs) as proof of services completed during the remaining two hours of work rendered outside the school premises.”
DepEd noted that the said DM will also “direct key offices to monitor the strict and uniform execution” of this policy. “Unfortunately, after almost six months, the anticipated Order has not been released by the DepEd,” Basas said.
TDC said that this matter – along with some other Magna Carta-related issues – is included in the TDC’s main advocacy line for 2019. “Others are the immediate granting of an across-the-board salary increase for teachers and DepEd personnel and the fixing of GSIS policies or creating a separate insurance system for teachers,” Basas ended.
Source: MB

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