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ROUGH CUTS | A school sans its own teachers

Vic N. Sumalinog

IT would be good for President Rodrigo Duterte and the entire Filipino nation if the former listens to the plea of some lawmakers, specifically Rep. Joey Salceda of Albay, for him to declare an economic emergency in the country. Salceda, who is a known economist, urges the President to call Congress to a special session to tackle the issue of the country’s fast regressing economy as a result of the Ukraine-Russian war.

     Salceda believes that Congress can legitimize the President’s declaration of economic emergency and would make it easy for him to implement measures that will cushion the impact of the conflict on the lives of the Filipinos.

     Yes, the President should declare an economic emergency and prioritize looking into how the skyrocketing prices of oil products can be arrested the soonest possible time. We all know that the country’s economy has just started recovering from the effect of the more than two years of the CoViD 19 pandemic. The health emergency has brought the economies of nations in the world to its knees. In fact poor countries like the Philippines are not only made to kneel economically but literally crawl to the ground. Now, as we slowly and shakily rise up from the devastation, here comes another catastrophe that though limited in terms of areas covered and distance, yet definitely has a global implication. 

     If our government continues to miscalculate the impact of the Ukraine-Russian war on our country’s economy, we will again be submerged under the avalanche of hardships that will come our way without even getting involved in the actual fight in the faraway war theater.

     Indeed the President must immediately have to convene his economic advisers and the call for a special session of Congress to manifest his intention to declare an economic emergency.

     He should not hesitate to institute radical ways of solving a very serious crisis if in the end it will redound to the survival of the Filipino nation. After all, what radical measures he will undertake might perpetuate his name in the country’s history as the people’s messiah.

     Of course there will always be sectors that will not conform with his actions or measures. But if these sectors are just a minority compared to the multitude of Filipinos, then so be it. What is important is that the majority will benefit compared to those who stand to suffer.

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     We are urgently calling the attention of Davao City’s congressmen, including the Davao-based Bayan Muna Partylist representative, our friend Carlos Isagani Zarate, and of course the Department of Education division and regional officials.

     The other day we were invited to attend a stakeholders forum of the Talandang National High School (TNHS), a public secondary educational institution in the barangay where our rural residence is located. 

     We have “isolated” our family in that remote barangay since the onset of the CoViD 19 pandemic. We did not hesitate to accede to the invitation because we believe that as residents of the area we have certain responsibilities to the school to make it effective as a provider of the basic education of our youth.

     After the school authorities explained the rationale of the consultation the forum proceeded to present the problems that the school had since its establishment in 2001. In the course of the discussion presided by Cluster 6 District supervisor Johnito Galan who is assigned as temporary school head pending the end of the election season appointment ban, we learned that there was a continuous rise in the number of enrollees every year after the school’s inception. The same school, while hardly having any classrooms when it started operation, already has a surplus of classroom facilities. What with two multi-level edifices added in the past five years. Thanks to Congressmen Isidro and Abet Ungab.

     To our chagrin however, we also were informed that until now, roughly 21 years since its establishment, it cannot pride itself of owning even with just one of its ten or so teachers who would be overly overburdened when face-to-face classes resume any time now. The school has a total of over 400 students.

     We say the Talandang National High School has no one teacher to be proud of to be called  its own because all of them, including the principal, are under the plantilla of other schools. The newly assigned administrator of the school could not help but worry so much because he was advised the schools that owned the position of the teachers assigned at TNHS will be needing the services of their teachers back – four of them. What then will happen to the teaching force of the TNHS? And what will that make of the quality of education given to the students in this remote barangay of the third district?

     It is our take that Congressman Sid and the other national lawmakers representing Davao City in Congress must now find ways to create new plantilla positions for secondary teachers and allocate the required number to the TNHS. We also call the City Division of Schools and the Regional DepEd offices for them to work for the inclusion of teacher positions under the city’s local school board if our congressmen cannot do it at the national level.

     After all, what is the use of having schools with imposing multi-story buildings and hundreds of enrollees but having teachers whose permanency in assignment is not anchored on solid foundation of belongingness?

     We suggest that our congressmen running for reelection pause a little while and think of what they can possibly do. We believe that the Talandang High School case is not just the one in the city. There may be other schools in similar situation.

     For comments and/or reactions to our column we can be reached through our e-mail address: victorino.sumalinog@yahoo.com; mobile number 09392980435; or Landline 2372169.

                                                

     

        

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