CHEd Commissioner Cynthia Rose Bautista defends the P29-billion stabilization fund for displaced teachers and support staff in a hearing with the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education Photo by Nazzi M. Castro

25 June 2014, 6:24 a.m. – FOUR GOVERNMENT agencies are proposing a P29-billion fund to compensate teaching and non-teaching employees of higher education institutions (HEIs) who will lose their jobs during the transition period of the K to 12 program in 2016.

In a hearing with the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) on Tuesday, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the stabilization fund would be allotted as follows: P10 billion for the operation of HEIs; P17 billion or P30,000 per month per faculty member; and P2 billion or P15,000 per month for non-academic staff.

DOLE Undersecretary Rebecca Chato said the stabilization fund would help affected employees seek other sources of income during the two-year transition period, apart from the benefits they would get from their respective HEIs after being dismissed.

“It’s a proposal to help the faculty and the non-teaching personnel transition within a period of two years to another [job],” Chato said in the hearing at the House of Representatives. “The concept of the P30,000 is a compensation on top of what should be given by the school to the displaced faculty or non-teaching personnel.”

Chato added that the stabilization fund would only be given to displaced employees due to the K to 12 transition and not to those who would be terminated due to other reasons.

The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, or the K to 12 program, will add two years of secondary education starting 2016. High school students will have to enroll in Grade 11 instead of graduating to first-year college.

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Some general education subjects currently taught in college will be transferred to senior high school (Grades 11 and 12), leaving fewer students and teaching loads for college instructors.

Rene Tadle, internal vice president of the UST Faculty Union, said labor implications of K to 12 include decrease in pay, loss of tenure, and loss of teaching load, among others.

Faculty members were initially not involved in the discussions regarding the implementation of K to 12, he said, adding that only college and university administrators were approached.

“We are not against K to 12. Our problem here is the way K to 12 is being implemented,” Tadle said during the hearing. “Ang pakiusap lang namin sa diskusyong ito, ‘wag lamang imbitahin ‘yung mga may-ari ng eskwelahan, but make sure to invite the faculty unions. Kasi ibang sektor ‘yun. We belong to the same institution but it is possible that we have different interests.”

Rep. Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said the general concept of a stabilization fund should be an assurance to affected school employees.

“There should be support for faculty and employees in terms of salaries and benefits, respect for tenure, respect for unions, [and] right to self-organization, na sa two-year period, ‘di matatanggalan ng trabaho, ‘di mababawasan ‘yung tinatanggap na nila, at ‘di mawawasak ‘yung mga union na itinayo na,” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

The committee chairman, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, called on CHEd, DepEd, TESDA and DOLE to quickly come up with a formal proposal for the stabilization fund.

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“They should take note of all the comments made, kasi wala pa silang final draft e. They’re still studying all the options possible. I think you should make that clear and dapat may sense of urgency na tapusin, kasi malapit na ang K to 12 implementation,” he said during the hearing.

Also present in the hearing were DepEd Undersecretary Alberto Muyot, CHEd Commissioner Cynthia Rose Bautista, Flordeliz Abanto of St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges President Ricardo Rotopas, Raquel Tan Rapirap of the Far Eastern University Non-Teaching Employees Union, and professors from De La Salle University, Arellano University, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Miriam College. A. F. Merez and G. M. P. Terre

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