Teachers group rallies for salary increase and allowance, issues statement on drug testing

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) A group of teachers staged a protest in front of Quezon City Hall on Friday to share their grievances on certain issues, including salary increase, delayed allowance and drug testing.
Teachers group calls mandatory drug tests on teachers an insult to their profession

Rallyists were holding tarpaulins bearing the message, “Local Allowance, Ibalik sa Landbank.” They made an appeal to Mayor Herbert Bautista to return their local allowance payroll system back to Landbank from Globe Banko. The teachers said that since the transfer, their allowances were delayed by 6 months sometimes up to a year.

The group also answered concerns from the media, including the issue on the mandatory drug testing for teachers and personnel.

Mabella Caboboy, President of Quezon City Public School Teachers Association
Mabella Caboboy, President of Quezon City Public School Teachers Association | Screengrab: ABS-CBN video

Mabella Caboboy, President of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) made a remark that it’s an insult to their profession. She said, “Hindi po kami mga drug addict at mga drug users. Nakakainsulto po iyan sa aming propesyon na kami ay pinaghihinalaan at inuuna pa sa drug testing na yan.”

The group said that there are other more pressing concerns in the education system rather than the drug testing. They added that the system is still facing issues such as shortage of school buildings, lack of better facilities and the P1,000 allowance increase that they have been asking.

The protest got a bit violent with the altercation between the teachers and security
The protest got a bit violent with the altercation between the teachers and security | Screengrab: ABS-CBN

However, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte clarified that the protest do not represent the entire voice of the public school teachers. She said that she was even surprised where the grievances came from because the government already had a dialogue with them. “‘Di ko alam saan nanggaling ang resistance because when I talked to them, lahat sila yes na yes, happy to do it."

Under the proposed mandatory drug testing, almost 5,000 public school teachers and personnel in Quezon City will submit to the testing this month. The mandatory random drug testing still continues nationwide. According to the reports of Department of Education, from 2017 to present, out of the 3,200 teachers, 5 tested positive to drug use.

According to data from PDEA, from July 2016-June 208, a total of 21 teachers have been arrested for involvement in illegal drugs. PDEA Director General Aaron Pichon remarked that these numbers are “big.” He reminded that, “the clients of these teachers are student. How do you expect these teachers, teaching the children when they are under the influence of drugs?”

QCPSTA’s statement

After their protest, the group shared on their Facebook page that they have been accommodated by the Office of the Mayor and had a dialogue with the City Administrator Aldrin Cuña. The group also clarified that the protest was first and foremost due to the issue of delayed allowance and not on the issue of random drug testing.

Teachers group rallies for salary increase and allowance
Teachers group rallies for salary increase and allowance

QC Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte also issued statement pertaining to the rally conducted by the ACT teachers.

"I would like to clarify to the public that out of the five concerns they raised (in addition to their opposition to drug testing), the following concerns have already been addressed by the City Council via legislation before the said rally even took place.

1. Approval of the PhP300 longevity pay from PhP200
2. Approval of the PhP1,500 supplemental monthly allowance from PhP 1000
3. First reading - PhP2000 rice allowance from PhP1500

Their other two concerns are not within the jurisdiction of the City Council

4. Transfer of ATM to Landbank (Mayor’s office)
5. Salary Increase (national government; LGU can only legislate for allowances)

Hoping this clarifies matters for our teachers. Please note dear teachers that all things can be discussed and agreed upon w/o need for rallying. One only resorts to rallies for media attention as a last resort when your leaders are not listening."

— Sally, The Summit Express

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