Mandatory continuing education for teachers pushed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2019   •   1131

FILE PHOTO: Students orientation on the opening of classes for school year 2012-2013 in a school in General Santos City. (RITCHIE TONGO / Photoville International)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday said he has filed a bill pushing for the establishment of a mandatory continuing education program for elementary and high school teachers.

The Senate Bill No. 367 or the Continuing Education for Teachers Act seeks the government to implement a comprehensive national program for mandatory continuing education for all teachers in both private and public educational institutions as well as formal and non-formal institutions of learning.

“As of this moment, there are no existing free programs for continuing teacher education in our country,” Gatchalian said in a statement, adding that teachers are left to their own devices if they wish to further develop their training and education.

“Acknowledging the need to continually educate our teachers and to further develop the teaching profession, this bill seeks to provide a mandatory teacher’s education program to be implemented by the government at no cost to our teacher,” he further said.

Under the bill, the mandatory continuing education program shall consist of at least 24 hours of compulsory continuing education activities each year. This will be held preferably at least eight hours per day on consecutive days, at the end of every school year and before the resumption of classes.

The program shall also be conducted in the school district where the teachers belong, as determined by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Teachers who possess a post-graduate degree are not covered by the proposed measure, but may opt to attend the program.

“Teacher effectiveness depends on whether they know what to teach and the best way to teach it,” the lawmaker said. “The environment in which teachers work has significantly changed over the past decades, yet the method of teaching has not been sufficiently adapted to the current times.”

“Unless actions to update teaching in the new environment take place, there will not be a substantial improvement in the quality of our students,” he stressed.

Gatchalian’s bill also orders DepEd to create an Executive Committee directly responsible for the effective implementation of the program.

The senator said a P100 million budget will be appropriated for the initial implementation of this program to be incorporated in DepEd’s annual budget.

Gatchalian calls for more support on sports development after PH dominates 30th SEA Games

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called for more support for Filipino athletes amid the country’s dominance in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Gatchalian made the call after the Philippine team clinched the overall championship for this year’s edition of the games.

The country concluded its campaign with the final medal haul of 386 – 149 golds, 117 silvers and 120 bronzes – which broke its previous record.

In 2005, the country was also the overall champion when it bagged 113 gold medals.

This year’s biennial meet is considered to be the biggest SEA games held with 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues across the country.

More than a thousand Filipino athletes participated in the event.

The lawmaker stressed that it is important for all sectors, including the government, academe, and the private sector to strengthen the infrastructural, financial, and policy support to athletes considering their role in fostering national unity and boosting national pride.

“Nakita natin sa SEA Games kung paanong nagkaisa ang ating mga kababayan sa pagsuporta sa ating mga atleta. Ngunit hindi dapat dito sa SEA Games nagtatapos ang pagkakaisa natin para sa ating mga manlalaro,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Sa puntong ito, mahalagang magkaisa rin tayo sa paghubog ng mga susunod pang henerasyon ng mga atletang magbibigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa,” he added.

The senator also reiterated the need to establish the Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) as a crucial step for the grassroots development of sports.

The proposed school will be built at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to develop future generations of Filipino athletes through physical education and sports development subjects.

The Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture Chairman said that the rollout for the PHSS is being eyed by next year.

“Marami tayong mga mahuhusay na mga manlalaro at may nakahanda na tayong mga magagandang pasilidad na magbibigay sa kanila ng world-class training,” Gatchalian said.

“Pagkatapos ng SEA Games, maaari nang gamitin ang mga pasilidad na ito para sa pagsasanay ng ating mga atleta,” he added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, said the rollout for the PHSS is being eyed by next year.

The lawmaker also emphasized that corporate sponsors and international donors should work together to assist government efforts to institutionalize academic support for sports.

Likewise, local governments should boost their sports programs and facilities while being on the lookout for potential talents.

“Sa pagpapalakas natin ng sports development, mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng holistic approach upang maibigay natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga atleta sa bawat hakbang. Hindi lang natin susuportahan ang mga atleta natin pag sumabak na sila sa laban, sisimulan natin ang pagsuporta sa pinakamaagang pagkakataon,” he said.

Senator asks Duterte to certify bills on teachers’ pay hike as urgent

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

Kindergarten students follow a teacher during a morning exercise routine at the Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City, Philippines, 03 June 2019. EPA-EFE / ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday asked President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent bills seeking to raise the salary for teachers.

Gatchalian made the statement after Duterte assured that the teachers’ wage increase will be given this year.

In a statement, the senator welcomed the president’s promise to grant the awaited pay hike for public school teachers before the end of 2019.

“Napakagandang balita ito para sa ating public school teachers, kaya naman natutuwa at nagpapasalamat ako kay President Duterte sa pagdinig sa matagal nang hiling ng teachers natin na itaas ang kanilang mga sahod,” Gatchalian said.

The clamor for teachers’ pay increase came after the Duterte government hiked the salaries for soldiers, police officers and other uniformed personnel in 2018.

Teachers’ groups have been asking the government for a salary increase, ranging from P10,000 to P30,000 per month, saying their present pay is no longer enough to sustain their needs.

In a separate interview, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they are now working on passing a bill that would raise teachers’ salaries to at least P30,000.

He added that he also authored a bill that would exempt all public teachers from paying income taxes.

Beyond the across-the-board salary increase, Gatchalian said, some lawmakers are eyeing to upgrade the starting pay of teachers “to bridge the gap between the salaries of entry-level teachers positions and that of higher positions.”

“We would also like to increase and institutionalize the benefits and allowances that our teachers receive so that they would no longer need to shell out money from their own pockets just to buy teaching supplies,” he added.

According to the senator, these bills are still pending in both Houses of Congress.

“I would like to ask the President to certify these measures as urgent so that our teachers may get the adequate remuneration they deserve,” he said.

Duterte vows to hike teachers’ pay this year

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2019

A Filipino teacher stands by as a student writes letters on a chalk board at a public school in Manila, Philippines on 10 June 2008. The Commission on Audit (COA) has reported that because of the inept allocation of government resources, funds that were meant for public schools in the country’s most depressed areas instead went to those that had the least need for classroom, tables, and chairs. EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has assured teachers that their awaited pay increase will be given this year.

Duterte made the promise when he arrived in Davao City on Sunday from his five-day visit to Russia.

However, he clarified that the pay hike will not be doubled and may only be about 35 percent.

“It’s coming, their increases. But not doubled. Mas marami ang teachers (There are a lot more teachers). Pero nandiyan po, dadating yan this year (But it is there, it’s coming this year),” he said.

“I think it’s about — the last time they were discussing was about 35 (percent) but it could be more. I do not know,” he added.

When asked when the salary increase for teachers will be implemented, Duterte replied with: “You know government is such a very complex animal. And you cannot just… If I give you the timeline tapos I could not make it on the deadline, I have to explain more than what is expected of government.”

“Mas mabuti na lang ‘yan kung nandiyan na, sinasabi ko nandiyan na ‘yan. Basta sinabi ko may increase din sila, (It is better to say it is forthcoming. I said they would get increase)” he added.

The clamor for teachers’ pay increase came after the Duterte government hiked the salaries for soldiers, police officers and other uniformed personnel last year.

Teachers’ groups have been asking the government for salary increase, ranging from P10,000 to P30,000, saying their present pay is no longer enough to sustain their needs. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

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