GROUP PUSHES FOR TEACHERS’ HOLIDAY

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a national public school teachers’ organization is hopeful that a bill seeking to declare October 5 of every year as special working holiday would have its chance before October 2009.

Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s chairperson said they welcome the proposal which will recognize the importance of the frontline workers of education sector in the Philippines. “This is not just about a rest or incentive day for us, this is a morale booster. A state recognition of the importance of teachers’ contribution in the society.” He said.

In 1994, the UNESCO declared October 5 as World Teachers’ Day in commemoration and recognition of the “Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers” signed on October 5, 1966 by the Special Intergovernmental Conference on the Status of Teachers. Said document is so far the single most important universally accepted document which recognizes the teachers’ role and importance in the society.

“The Philippine State is one of the signatories to that document and therefore duty-bound to put the spirit of Unesco declaration in practice.” Basas stressed. He even mentioned South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam where the official celebration of teachers day began in 1956, 1957 and 1958, respectively.

Aside from declaring October 5 as a special working holiday, Senate Bill 3189 authored by Senator Alan Cayetano orders all establishments to give 20% discount in products and services that the teachers avail during the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of October. It also provides for monetary incentives for teachers from LGUs and state-run institutions of higher learning.

Basas is quite confident that the bill will be approved despite limited session time in Congress.

“This proposed law would not need any amount to be implemented, we are very confident that Malacanang will not disregard this like what it did in our P9000 pay increase proposal.” Basas added. He continued, “If there is a state commemoration on the heroes of the past, why should not we honor the unsung heroes of our nation’s everyday battle against ignorance.” Basas asked.

As early as October 2008, the TDC submitted a proposal to both houses of Congress which Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, then Senate Education Committee Chair adopted into a Senate Bill.

The Philippines has no official uniform celebration of the teachers’ day. #

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