HUNDREDS of public school teachers from Metro Manila on Friday afternoon stormed the central office of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Pasig City to denounce the agency for scrapping their local allowances.
The teachers, most of them clad in black shirts, demanded the resignation of Secretary Leonor Briones for signing the Joint Circular 1, Series of 2017 issued by the Education department, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) removing the allowances given by local government units to DepEd-hired teachers as expenses chargeable to the special education fund, effectively prohibiting these allowances.
“We would also to take this opportunity to question Secretary Briones in signing the joint circular without any consultation [with]the mainstream teachers organization and utmost disregard of our welfare. The situation had left us no recourse but to march in the streets and air our grievances collectively to get the attention of our DepEd officials and the Duterte administration,” Mabelle Caboboy, chapter president of Quezon City Public School Teachers Association and Alliance of Concerned Teachers National Capital Region (Metro Manila) Union, said.
“Nationally-paid teachers will lose their local allowances. In effect, this joint circular will take back the allowances sourced from the special education fund which local government units have been giving for nearly 20 years, enabling to augment the take-home pay of public school teachers in their jurisdiction,” Caboboy added.
Citing the Joint Circular 1, Series of 1998, she noted that the “payment of existing allowances of teachers are among the expenses chargeable to the special education fund, or the additional 1 percent tax on real property.
The 1998 circular implemented provisions of the Local Government Code of the special education fund, classifying allowances under “operation and maintenance of public schools” that the law allows as proceeds of the special education fund.
“We decry the DBM, DepEd and DILG’s move of slashing the benefits of teachers in the face of the government’s refusal to grant immediate substantial salary increases and income tax relief. We demand that the DepEd, DBM and DILG amend the new special education fund guidelines to reinstate local allowances as allowable special education fund expense,” Caboboy said.
NEIL A. ALCOBER