MANILA — The Makabayan bloc is seeking a House probe on the implementation of a bi-monthly release of salaries in the Department of Education (DepEd).
In its House Resolution 2468, the lawmakers said there is an "urgent demand from our teachers to suspend the salary scheme and to have a broad consultation on the issues and concerns."
"The DepEd should explain the bases, including legal bases, for this drastic change in the salary scheme and why they immediately implemented this scheme without further research and study on the effects to the stakeholders,” it said.
The group cited Memorandum OUF-2021-0703 of the Department of Education Office of the Undersecretary for Finance entitled "Internal Guidelines on the Implementation of twice-a-month release of salary to DepEd personnel" which provides for the implementation of the bi-monthly release of salaries which is every 15th and 30th day of the month, starting Jan. 2022.
The lawmakers noted Education Secretary Leonor Briones approved its implementation upon recommendation of the DepEd Central Office APDS Task Force.
Makabayan claimed the scheme received complaints from the field, saying there was no consultation with the teachers and the teachers' accredited unions regarding the new salary scheme.
“DepEd neglected the basic democratic process that the agency should go through before implementing changes to employment-related matters. Now, teachers are raising so many disadvantages and issues with the new policy,” it said.
The DepEd allegedly failed to adhere to the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966). The agency also supposedly violated the existing Collective Negotiation Agreements of the National Capital Region, Region VI, and Region Xl entered with the unions for the lack of consultation.
The lawmakers also claimed that the twice-a-month ATM withdrawal will incur additional fees because there is a fee in every ATM transaction.
“Several teachers have already raised concerns on the following such as there will be bigger or double bank charges per month due to the twice-a-month withdrawal," the resolution read.
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) earlier said it has received reports from teachers who lost their money through unauthorized online bank transfers. The educators reportedly lost money ranging from P26,000 to P121,000 from their Landbank accounts.
The DepEd said it has not received formal reports yet, and that Landbank has also reached out and assured that "cases on unauthorized withdrawals are properly handled and given utmost attention".
The Makabayan bloc includes ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.