WHILE they were put first and honored yesterday as the world celebrated Teachers’ Day, the public school teachers in Cebu City are not priority recipients of cash allowance or assistance from the City Government.
In his press conference last Monday, Mayor Tomas Osmeña told reporters that he is not amenable to the City providing P4,000 as cost of living allowance (Cola) a month to around 5,000 teachers in the city.
“In the plate of money here, they’re last in line. Students come first, senior citizens come second,” he said.
During last week’s regular session, Coucilor Jose Daluz III proposed an ordinance granting public school teachers the monthly allowance by January next year.
Previously amounting to P2,000, he wants the Cola doubled to have it uniform with what policemen, village watchmen and mediators are receiving monthly from the City Government.
This would mean that the City will have to release P240 million a year for the 5,000 public school teachers.
Aside from this, he wants to have the amount taken from the general fund instead of the special education fund.
State auditors have disallowed the issuance of the cash last August after ruling that the Cola and the hardship and clothing allowances are already integrated in the teachers’ basic salary.
Following his pronouncement, Osmeña asked for the purpose for the provision of allowances, saying that teachers are already receiving salary from the National Government.
The mayor pointed out that in some cases, public school teachers are receiving better pay than their fellows working in private institutions.
He said that instead of giving cash allowances, the money of the City could be allocated to answer the lack of classrooms and support the schooling of the less fortunate.
“Which would you prefer, one teacher gets P4,000 a month or one student can’t go to college? I’m not Santa Claus,” Osmeña said.
With the culmination of Teachers Month yesterday, officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 admitted that teachers are still subjected to many challenges, including dealing with changes brought about by the K to 12 program.
Dr. Victor Yntig, DepEd 7 administrative division chief, told reporters that the K to 12 program is a challenge for teachers because it calls for an improvement of the quality of teaching.
This means more upgrading for teachers so that they are within standards, Yntig said.
Aside from K to 12, Yntig said that other challenges that teachers faced in a day-to-day basis includes the different personalities and intellect of their students and how to keep them in school despite the many temptations.
Teachers like Jona Kie Nayre of the Punta Princesa Night High School in Barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City said that dealing with students with different backgrounds is part and parcel of being in the profession of education.
Nayre, who has been a public school teacher for nine years, admitted that she experienced dealing with students who are allegedly into illegal drugs.
Nayre added that she and other public school teachers are also dealing with the increasing number of enrollees.
Amaryllis Villarmia, DepEd 7 public information officer, said that in Central Visayas, the current teacher-student ratio is one teacher to 55 students.
The ideal teacher-student ratio is 1:50, she added.
But Yntig said that a lot of teachers like Nayre are attracted to the public school sector because of the good salary being offered by the government.
A public school teacher with a rank of Teacher 1 earns close to P18,000 to P19, 000 as a starting salary, not including allowances such as the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA).
Yesterday, DepEd 7 officials ended the Teachers’ Month by offering a prayer for all teachers at the regional office in Barangay Lahug.
The simultaneous offering of prayers and other activities related to Teachers Month in DepEd regional offices nationwide is based on a memorandum signed by DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones.