#tell_it_to_sunstar: Seeking aid for living teachers, not dead ones

WHILE we appreciative the attention Sen. Nancy Binay has thrown to our sector, we would be more grateful if the government will provide us with free medical checkup and other forms of medical assistance while we’re still alive, not just a discount for our funeral.

Early last week, Binay filed Senate Bill 1670 seeking a 20% discount for teachers’ funeral expenses.

We recognize her effort, the bill, after all, seeks to assist teachers or their families in time of mourning and huge expenses. However, we would be more appreciative if the good senator and Congress will use their oversight power to implement the provisions of Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, or Republic Act 4670, one of which is the mandate that teachers should be provided with annual health examination as well as hospitalization, and that is for free.

Under the law, which was enacted in 1966, the government is responsible to maintain teachers’ sound health thru a compulsory, annual and free medical examination and medication or hospitalization.

Teachers need assistance particularly if they have to undergo chemotherapy, hemodialysis or major operations due to heart or lung conditions or complications due to pregnancy. In these cases, we really need a government that cares for us, while we are still alive.

We have been coordinating with the DepEd management to ensure that by the end of this school year in March, teachers will not have to pay for their annual check-up and the assistance from DepEd will be more accessible and timely through a support mechanism we proposed.

As to Binay’s proposal, the “good senator has several bills filed in the Senate that would uplift the living conditions of our public school teachers” like scholarship grants and the incentives for teachers that would ensure a 20% discount for teachers availing themselves of basic goods and services, among others.-- Benjo Basas, national chairperson of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition
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