Secretary Briones: May 23 is a day to rebuild lives, continue education of Marawi learners

PASIG CITY, May 22, 2018 – Exactly one year after the siege that took away lives, livelihood, education, and opportunities from the residents of Marawi City, the Department of Education (DepEd) and its partners will once more work together to enable learners and their families to turn over a new leaf and greet the new school year with better hope and continuous education through the conclusion of Brigada Eskwela sa Marawi(BESM) and the launch of Oplan Balik Eskwela sa Marawi (OBEM) on May 23 at Amai Pakpak Central Elementary School.

“Historically, May 23, 2017 will be remembered as the day bullets and extremism tore down the beautiful City of Marawi; however, let it be remembered that May 23, 2018 is the day restored hope, sustained bayanihan, and continued education will help rebuild the dreams that our Marawi learners once thought were lost,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones stated.

The Education chief, who relentlessly campaigned that “education must continue” for the displaced learners since the war started, will visit ground zero for the first time where 20 schools destroyed in the armed conflict are included in the government’s overall rehabilitation of the area.

Secretary Briones noted that DepEd, in cooperation with DepEd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has been surveying 69 schools in the city to assess integrity and safety for learners’ use. While not all schools in Marawi will be able to welcome learners when classes open on June 4 due to poor and unsafe condition, a clustering system of adjacent schools will be implemented to ensure that learners will be accommodated.

“We want the opening of this school year to be without difficulty for our learners and personnel, especially those from Marawi who have endured so much in the past year; We want them to be able to enroll and attend the first day of classes with less concerns; The Department is confident that we are not wanting in support from people and organizations whose passion for education will enable our affected learners and personnel to take a step from the shadow of the war and look forward to learning as their link to normalcy in the present and hope for the future,” the Secretary pointed out.

DepEd ARMM Secretary Rasul Mitmug, DepEd ARMM Assistant Secretary for Special Projects Alfhadar Pajiji, Marawi City Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Pharida Sansarona, Marawi City Assistant Schools Division Superintendent (ASDS) Anna Zenaida Unte-Alonto, DepEd Executive Committee members, and Regional Directors will join Secretary Briones in the ceremonies.

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DepEd management, employees’ union ink new agreement

CLARK, PAMPANGA, May 2, 2018 – No one could have picked a better day.

On Labor Day, the Department of Education (DepEd) and the DepEd National Employees’ Union (DepEd-NEU) signed the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA), marking a landmark moment for employee welfare and strengthening ties in the Department. This is the second CNA signed between the two parties.

The signing was held during the 1st DepEd Employee Associations (DEA) Congress in front of hundreds of representatives from various employee organizations nationwide.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, who was joined by other members of the Executive and Management Committees of DepEd, expressed her happiness with the signing of the agreement, and on Labor Day no less: “We believe that the time has come for us all to get together. After all, we belong to one organization, and this is the Department of Education.”

Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua, who is the Chair of the management panel, expressed his optimism, calling it “an agreement both sides worked hard for and can be extremely proud of.” Pascua added that the new agreement will last for three (3) years.

“Ito ay isang pambihirang tagumpay na maituturing kung saan ang pangunahing kinatawan ng manggagawa at namamahala ay nagkaisa sa diwa ng konsultasyon bilang magkakaibigan, magkakasama, iisang pamilya,” Pascua shared.

Atty. Domingo Alidon, DepEd-NEU President, was equally ecstatic and grateful, saying that the CNA agreement “will surely enhance the welfare program for DepEd employees.”

Management panel Vice Chair, Assistant Secretary Revsee Escobedo, recalled how the negotiation started on January 25, 2018 when DepEd-NEU submitted their proposed amendments to the previous CNA dating back to 2013.

“Since January, both sides have been communicating and meeting regularly to discuss the NEU’s proposal, and as far as negotiations go, everything has been smooth,” added Escobedo.

The opening of the DEA Congress coincided with the last day of the National Conference on Public Sector Unionism, whose participants joined the Congress afterwards.

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Briones appeals: Higher honoraria, no tax, more benefits for poll volunteer teachers

PASIG CITY, May 3, 2018 – Upholding the welfare and protection of teachers who will choose to serve in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones petitioned to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the increase of honoraria and allowances and exemption from the imposition of withholding tax on such compensation.

“DepEd teachers and personnel have long been at the forefront of every electoral exercise in the country; with their immense experience in carrying out this enormous task in clustered precincts of huge populations, we deem that evaluation and discussion on the possible increase in honoraria and allowance are just and necessary,” Briones said.

Last April 23, the Education chief also appealed to Comelec that teachers who opt to render their time, energy, and safety to ensure the integrity of the ballot must not be encumbered by tax on their meager allowance.

The Secretary pointed out that prior to the effectivity of ESRA, no poll honoraria were ever subjected to income tax. Now that Republic Act No. 10756, or the Election Service Reform Act (ERSA) has improved the compensation package of volunteer-teachers, it is only fitting that they truly benefit from their hard-earned compensation.

ESRA currently provides for higher honoraria, additional travel allowance, service credits, legal indemnification package, medical assistance, and death benefit for teachers and personnel who will volunteer poll services.

The Secretary further requested Comelec to permit the designation of authorized disbursing officer who will be allowed to draw cash advance for medical expenses of teachers who will serve in the Electoral Boards. If granted, this will replace the common practice of medical reimbursements and help teachers who may need immediate hospital treatment and/or admission.

On top of the five days service credit mandated by ESRA in view of the manual conduct of elections, Briones also called for the grant of additional two days service credits.

Earlier today in Davao City, Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua and Assistant Secretary for Procurement Field Operations Revsee Escobedo shared the news during the 1st Regional Assembly of Educational Leaders, wherein more than 3,000 delegates applauded the DepEd chief’s efforts.

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