To address new and persisting challenges that public school teachers face because of the education sector’s volatility and complexity, Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a bill which seeks to amend the 57-year old Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act No. 4670).
The ‘Revised Magna Carta for Public School Teachers’ (Senate Bill No. 2493) introduces substantial amendments to ensure that the rights and welfare of public school teachers are protected, respected, and realized.
These amendments include: the grant of calamity leave, educational benefits, and longevity pay; the circumstances and conditions on the grant of special hardship allowance; enrichment of the criteria for salaries; and the protection of teachers from out-of-pocket expenses, among others. The bill also proposes that salaries, benefits, and work conditions of probationary teachers shall be the same or not less favorable as those of an entry-level teacher.
To improve the working conditions of public school teachers, the proposed measure seeks to reduce the hours of classroom teaching from six to four. When the exigencies of the service require, teachers may render up to eight hours of service upon payment of additional compensation, which will be equivalent to the same rate as their regular remuneration plus at least 25% of their basic pay. The bill also prohibits teachers from being assigned non-teaching tasks, and provides for the temporary hiring of a substitute teacher when an incumbent is on leave.
Gatchalian’s proposed measure also prohibits the termination of permanent teachers without just cause and due process. Permanent teachers who are unjustly dismissed shall be entitled to reinstatement and backwages. The bill also seeks to ensure confidentiality of disciplinary actions against teachers. It further seeks to institute a partnership between the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), which will extend legal services to teachers facing complaints and lawsuits in relation to their teaching duties and responsibilities.
When the proposed measure is enacted into law, the DepEd shall formulate and prepare a Code of Ethics for public school teachers. The bill further prohibits any form of discrimination and seeks to uphold gender equality.
“Nakasalalay sa ating mga guro ang tagumpay ng sektor ng edukasyon, ngunit patuloy nilang kinakaharap ang iba’t ibang mga hamon sa pagtupad ng kanilang tungkulin. Napapanahon nang amyendahan natin ang Magna Carta for Public School Teachers at gawin itong mas angkop sa pangangailangan ng ating mga guro,” said Gatchalian, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.