Vice President Sara Duterte, who is also the concurrent Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary, expressed openness to holding a dialogue with teachers to discuss their concerns.

Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte during an ambush interview on July 14, 2022 (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Yun pong pakikipag-usap, ‘yes’ (When it comes to dialogue, ‘yes’),” Duterte said in an interview on Thursday, July 14, as a response to requests for dialogue coming from teachers’ groups.

“During the presentation namin sa cabinet meeting, sinabi ko lagi doon sa ating Pangulo at sa ibang cabinet members na sa amin pong pagtatrabaho sa Department of Education, we’re always in the spirit of diplomacy (During our presentation at the cabinet meeting, I always told our President and other cabinet members that when we work in the Department of Education, we’re always in the spirit of diplomacy),” Duterte said.

Groups such as the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) have been requesting a meeting with Duterte.

In a letter addressed to the DepEd Secretary dated July 13, TDC — a national organization of teachers — requested a meeting with Duterte to tackle important matters concerning the teachers.

In particular, TDC wanted to discuss the issuance of DepEd Order No. 34 series 2022 which has Aug. 22 as the first day of the school year 2022-2023.

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TDC is appealing for DepEd’s “reconsideration” on the set school opening date since many teachers are still reporting to their schools for various tasks even if classes for SY 2021-2022 have officially ended on June 24.

The group also pointed out that since various activities are also projected to be accomplished up to August or beyond “teachers, after a taxing school year of multiple teaching and learning modes under the pandemic, need sufficient time for proper rest in order to prepare them physically, emotionally and mentally for the coming school year.”

TDC also noted that being excluded from the sick and vacation leaves granted to other employees, and teachers, under the existing Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules are “entitled to vacation during school break.”

As DepEd eyes the implementation of face-to-face classes this SY, TDC said that the physical requirements of schools including the need for classrooms and additional teachers “still have to be considered addressed” as well as factors such as public transportation and vaccination status of teachers and children which “are yet to be properly addressed.”

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TDC said it is one with DepEd’s desire to gradually open schools for in-person classes. “We, however, would like to reiterate that the aforementioned important factors should also be carefully considered,” the group said.

The group cited that there were instances in the past where the school calendar was modified and the school opening was moved to a later date as the needs demanded. “We believe that the current situation merits the same kind of prudence,” TDC said.  

While she is open to holding a dialogue with teachers, Duterte maintained that the Aug. 22 school opening date will push through since this is already approved by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

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Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/07/14/duterte-open-to-dialogue-with-teachers-in-the-spirit-of-diplomacy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=duterte-open-to-dialogue-with-teachers-in-the-spirit-of-diplomacy)