Photo by Nazzi M. Castro

15 July 2014, 10:49 p.m. – THE HOUSE Committee on Higher and Technical Education is urging government agencies to finalize the draft of the proposed P29-billion stabilization fund that will compensate teachers to be displaced by the K to 12 scheme, if they want it to be passed into law before the transition period in 2016.

In a meeting Tuesday, the committee chairman, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, asked the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to submit the final draft for the Tertiary Education Sector Transition Fund (TESF) by September so it could be filed as a bill. The previous deadline was December.

But CHEd Commissioner Cynthia Bautista said submission of the final draft to Congress would take time because grounded estimates for the distribution of the fund won’t be determined until the end of the year.

“It’s a work in progress and entails consultation with relevant stakeholders and discussions with the Department of Budget and Management and other sources of funds. This is a proposal that has not been formally approved by the technical working group,” she said.

Benjo Benavidez, director of the DOLE’s Bureau of Labor Relations, said P10 billion would be allocated to incoming senior high school students and retained teaching and non-teaching personnel, and P4.86 billion to P19.44 billion to removed teaching and non-teaching personnel. Technical-vocational institutions will also be covered by the TESF.

DOLE Undersecretary Rebecca Chato also said compensation worth P30,000 per month for teachers and P15,000 per month for non-teaching personnel would only be given to those actively searching for new jobs.

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“The financial assistance will be given monthly [for a minimum] period of six months up to two years provided that they are actively searching for a job,” said Chato, adding that there would be a “Job Search Assistance Program” to help the displaced employees.

Rene Luis Tadle, UST Faculty Union external vice president and lead convener of the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines, said teachers were not consulted by government agencies in crafting the proposal.

The committee will meet again in September to discuss the final draft of the TESF. A. F. Merez

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