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World Teachers’ Day

October 5, 2011

Mr. President,
Images of disaster filled our minds in the past week as typhoons Pedring and Quiel wrought havoc in various parts of the country and destroyed millions-worth of infrastructure including school buildings. In fact, for typhoon Pedring alone, 315 school buildings were damaged with estimated cost placed at P146.8-million.[1]
Thousands of children who went back to their schools after the typhoons were welcomed by damaged classrooms . But one strong image stands tall-the teacher. She has to go business as usual. Despite the lack of facilities, she has to go on teaching, inspiring, motivating her students.[2]
Mr. President,
Today, once more, we recognize the great value of our mentors as we celebrate World Teachers’ Day.
The Department of Education (DepEd) chose the theme “My Teacher, My Hero” to highlight the significant role of teachers in our lives, in our society and in nation building.
True enough, Filipino teachers deserve to be recognized as heroes for they give more despite receiving less. Despite the limitations in the country’s education system, they strive to make a difference in the lives of their students.
Time and again, we have raised the many concerns of our teachers that need to be addressed-just compensation, sufficient funds for education sector, reforms in GSIS, health care program, and job security, among many others.
A campaign to show our appreciation for our mentors is a fitting tribute to the people who we recognize as our second parents. But what they really need is the kind of recognition that goes beyond lip service.
Mr. President,
It is in this light that I filed Senate Bill 10, the proposed Integrated Magna Carta of Teachers and Non-Teaching Personnel Act.
This proposed measure ensures for our teachers and non-teaching personnel the security of tenure, timely payment of their salaries on a monthly basis regardless of semestral or summer vacations, annual salary adjustment to mitigate the effects of inflation, and gratuity benefits for those who retire before reaching the compulsory retirement age of 60.
If we are to advance the long-standing concerns of our teachers, the passage of such measure is a strong indication of our commitment.
Our teachers are all over the country, igniting curiosity, inspiring passion, and opening doors for our students. And so we must not fail them, we must support these very people who have become instrumental in achieving the successes we have attained in our lives.[3]
Thank you, Mr. President.
[1] NDRRMC Update Sitrep No. 20 re Effects of Typhoon Pedring, 05 October 2011, 6:00 am
[2] Inputs from Dr. Vilma Labrador
[3] Inputs from Dr. Vilma Labrador