DepEd says allegations of unpaid TV staff ‘baseless’

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 14 2020 03:30 PM | Updated as of Dec 15 2020 01:45 AM

DepEd says allegations of unpaid TV staff ‘baseless’ 1
The Department of Education headquarters in Pasig City. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – The Department of Education denied Monday allegations that workers under its TV channel have not been receiving their salaries.

In an aide memoire dated Dec. 2, undersecretary for administration Alain Pascua explained that TV host Paolo Bediones, through his company Ei2Tech, offered to train DepEd teachers and personnel in the production of TV lessons for free as a proof of concept.

To execute the proof of concept, the company contracted over 400 professionals and suppliers from various networks gravely affected by the pandemic to produce a specific number of episodes, said Pascua.

“The arrangement was output-based or dependent on a specific number of episodes for all the contractors,” Pascua said.

“Allegations relative to Ei2Tech workers not receiving salaries are baseless because, as per Ei2Tech, there is no employer-employee relationship,” he added.

Pascua said Ei2Tech reported that there have been delays in the processing of full payments for contractors who have completed their required outputs.

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And of the 400 workers hired by Ei2Tech, less than 10 have not received any payments because they either “resigned, have unprocessed bank accounts, have no existing official receipts for proper liquidation, or have not turned over their unfinished output,” Pascua said.

Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd’s undersecretary for finance, said the department has been regularly paying its personnel who are engaged in DepEd TV, but it could not pay those under Ei2Tech.

The process to pay workers outside DepEd needs to undergo procurement, Sevilla said.

“The staff who allegedly said they are not paid are not employed by DepEd,” she told ABS-CBN News.

“Our engagement with Ei2Tech was first on voluntary basis. And now that there is intention to continue its services, it will undergo procurement, and our payment to them will be based on outputs… We cannot pay salary to its employees,” she said.

Last week, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers called the attention of the department after receiving reports that some DepEd TV staff under Ei2Tech have not been receiving their salaries.

Two Ei2Tech employees working on DepEd TV spoke with ABS-CBN News, saying they have not been receiving their salaries for months.

For one of the employees, the DepEd’s explanation on Monday “made sense.” 

Still, she was confused over which agency should be responsible for her compensation since her company told her that their salaries were delayed because the DepEd did not have funding for DepEd TV under its 2020 budget.

“While mahalaga malaman 'yong totoong dapat nag-handle ng pagpasweldo sa workers ng DepEd TV, mas mahalaga ma-compensate 'yong efforts and pagod namin,” she said after being told of the DepEd's reaction to their complaint.

(While it's important to know who's responsible for paying our salaries, it's more important to compensate our efforts.)

DepEd TV was launched this year as part of the government’s distance learning mode in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.