DepEd TV staff decry delayed salaries

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2020 02:40 PM | Updated as of Dec 14 2020 01:04 PM

DepEd TV staff decry delayed salaries 1
Children watching a test broadcast of DepEd TV, where government airs educational programming as part of its distance learning plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — In October, Bianca (not her real name) was hired to work for the Department of Education (DepEd) as part of the team that produces episodes for its TV channel, which the agency launched this year under its distance learning plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bianca said she took the job considering how difficult it was to find work in the middle of the ongoing health crisis, which has crippled the Philippine economy and plunged it into a recession.

But until now, Bianca said she has yet to receive a paycheck. Many of her colleagues have also been complaining about their delayed salaries.

“Never pa ako sumahod. And as far as I know, lahat ng pumasok noong October, hindi pa sila nakakasahod, or nakasahod sila pero for one pay day lang. Bale, for two weeks na trabaho lang sinahod nila. Ever since, after that, hindi na din sila sumahod,” Bianca, who has resigned from DepEd TV, told ABS-CBN News.

(I’ve never been paid. And as far as I know, those who started in October haven’t gotten their salaries as well, or if they did, it was only for one pay day or for work done in 2 weeks. Ever since, after that, they were never compensated again.)

In late November, Bianca and her colleagues were informed by their company, which supposedly entered into an agreement with the DepEd to produce the TV episodes, that the salaries were delayed because the government agency did not have funding for DepEd TV under its 2020 budget.

Bianca said her company told them they would be compensated once the DepEd’s 2021 budget was approved.

The DepEd TV staff were also told that they would receive their salaries this month, but the dates on when they would get the payments have been changing.

“Sabi nila, sasahod kami December 12. Tapos, wala na naman pumasok. (May) nagsabi December 15. Tapos iyong iba, sinasabi sa kanila, December 18. So, sobrang nangangapa kami [kung] kailan ba talaga ‘yong sahod,” Bianca said.

(They said we’d get our salaries on December 12 but we didn’t. Then they said we’d get it by December 15, while others were informed that they’d get it by December 18. So we’re really confused as to when we’d get paid.)

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Nina (Not her real name), who has been working for DepEd TV since September but received her salary only once, also lamented the delay in compensation.

“Parang ang dating kasi, na-bait ‘yong mga tao sa sweldo. [Tapos ngayon] overworked ta’s walang compensation,” she said.

(The impression is people were baited with the salary. Now, we’re overworked and we’re not compensated.)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged the department to resolve “employment problems” experienced by DepEd TV staff and ensure that they are compensated before Christmas.

“They took the job for economic gain, especially with the crisis amid the pandemic. It is the height of injustice to make them suffer due to government’s neglect and ineptitude,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.

“For months, these hapless employees were producing output through their own means— their own computers, internet and electricity expenses—under the work-from-home set-up, but they were not getting any for all their work,” he added.

ABS-CBN News sought for DepEd's reaction to the complaint but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.

Under the proposed 2021 budget, the education sector remains the top recipient of government funds. Congress has approved the spending bill, which will then be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.

This year, students have been learning from their homes through printed and digital modules, online classes, television and radio after the government banned in-person classes due to COVID-19, which has so far sickened over 448,000 in the country.

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