CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers -National Capital Region wore black tops to schools Friday to protest the proposed drug testing on them and their pupils from Grade 4 and up.
The mentors called instead for the immediate increase in salaries which, they said, they expect Pres. Duterte to announce on his third State of the Nation Address on July 23.
ACT estimated a nationwide mandatory drug testing of 20 million Grade 4 and up pupils and 700,000 teachers to cost about Php 4 billion. Such amount, according to Basilio, could easily fund the salary hike of all 360,000 Teacher I for a month, based on ACT’s demand to increase the basic pay from PhP 20,179 to PhP 30,000 monthly.
The teachers’ Black Friday Protest is a month-long escalating campaign of ACT towards the July 23 SONA to press Pres. Duterte to fulfill on that day his promise of salary increase for teachers.
All Fridays until July 23, teachers will don black shirts and will stage various forms of protests in schools and concerned government agencies nationwide.
“The proposed drug-testing is so off-tangent of the most pressing issues in schools and is a big waste of people’s money. Our urgent need is to be alleviated from the grueling crises in our economic situation and in our educational system,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT Philippines Secretary-General, a statement sent Saturday to Bicol Today in Naga City.
Basilio questioned the basis of the drug-test proposal, saying that PDEA is “capitalizing a handful of information about drug use among pupils and teachers to force a blanket mandatory drug test in schools.”
He also said that initial reaction of some parents saying that they agree to their children being drug-tested is understandable.
He explained that, “such is the situation when terror reigns as parents may be afraid of being accused of being drug users or having drug-using children, while they know very well that 27,000 of those accused are now six feet below the ground.”
“The Duterte government is selectively picking data that will suit its questionable priorities and justify its wanton violation of human rights. Why does not it act on our pay hike demand when the situation clearly warrants it and there is a popular clamor from teachers?” asked Basilio. [BicolToday.com]