Tell it to SunStar: On Angara’s appointment

By Teachers’ Dignity Coalition national chairman Benjo Basas
Tell it to SunStar: On Angara’s appointment
SunStar Tell it

We respect the President’s discretion in appointing any member of his Cabinet, recognizing it as his exclusive power under the law.

Previously, we emphasized that the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary should ideally be an educator or someone from the academic sector with public school teaching experience. This is crucial because someone who is familiar with the conditions of teachers and the education system must lead the education department. Many qualified individuals meet these criteria, including current DepEd officials who started as classroom teachers and rose from the ranks. We hope that in the future, clear guidelines for the qualifications of some cabinet members, including the Education Secretary, will be established to ensure appointments are not solely dependent on discretion.

Nonetheless, we acknowledge President Marcos’ decision to appoint Sen. Sonny Angara as the new DepEd secretary, succeeding Vice President Sara Duterte on July 19, 2024. As we have previously stated, we are willing to work with whoever takes the role to improve the agency and education sector.

To start, we hope that the incoming secretary engages with stakeholders, especially teachers. He will encounter significant challenges, but addressing these can lead to substantial progress in our education system.

Here are the critical areas that require his immediate attention:

1. Support legislation proposing salary increases for teachers.

2. Implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act 4670) welfare provisions.

3. Provide mandatory legal support for teachers facing charges while on duty.

4. Incorporate discipline enforcement into the child protection policy.

5. Implement DepEd Orders 2 and 5, s. 2024, addressing administrative task reduction and overtime pay for teachers.

6. Reform the GSIS or establish a separate insurance system for teachers.

7. Simplify the employee performance rating system by abolishing the RPMS and provide comprehensive, free training for teachers.

8. Expedite the promotion system, particularly for senior high school teachers, and implement the career progression policy outlined in Executive Order 174.

9. Address resource shortages, including classrooms, instructional materials, and support personnel such as guidance counselors, librarians, health workers, and other non-academic staff

10. Revise the curriculum to align with our socio-cultural context and reinstate Philippine history in high school.

Senator Angara will face formidable challenges in DepEd, and we stand ready to cooperate to overcome these for the education sector’s benefit. But, we vow to be vigilant in preventing any attempt to use DepEd for partisan politics.

For now, we welcome the senator to the Department and request a meeting with him at his earliest convenience.

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