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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DepEd set to roll out EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo nationwide

PASIG CITY, April 5, 2018 — Beginning next school year, all schools nationwide are expected to be part of EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo, an initiative that aims to strengthen the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) tobacco control policy.

As the current school year draws to a close, DepEd is also culminating its EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo Project, a three-year project in partnership with the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. Implemented in select schools in the cities of Pasig and Makati, and the provinces of Batangas, Bulacan, Bataan, and Pampanga, the project developed and pilot-tested implementation mechanisms aimed to build the capacity of DepEd personnel in effectively carrying out the Department’s tobacco control policy.

“The EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo Project ends in its pilot-testing phase, and its components will be adapted by DepEd for roll-out nationwide,” Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Alberto Muyot, who has also served as the director of the project, shared.

Muyot is pertaining to the monitoring and reporting tools, training manuals, and school-based campaign materials which were developed by the project to support schools in their implementation of the comprehensive tobacco control policy.

A ceremonial turnover of these materials was held on March 23, 2018 at DepEd Central Office, Pasig City.

The project brand EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo is a play on the Filipino words eskwela, laban, and eskwela ban to communicate that schools (eskwela), through the school’s bans (eskwela ban), are on a collective fight (laban) against tobacco (sigarilyo). Intended to carry two meanings – the school’s bans on cigarettes or the school’s fight against tobacco – EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo aims to increase public awareness of the bans stipulated in DepEd Order No. 48, s. 2016 (DO 48, s. 2016) or the Policy and Guidelines on Comprehensive Tobacco Control, and to build the capacity of schools, through their respective Child Protection Committees, to effectively take a stand against tobacco by implementing the strategies enumerated in the Order.

DO 48, s. 2016 mandates the Child Protection Committee, which has already been set up in all schools since 2012 and chaired by the Principal, to monitor compliance with and report violations of various tobacco control policies such as (1) bans on smoking in schools; (2) bans on the sale and advertisement of tobacco products within the 100-meter perimeter of schools, and (3) bans on receiving sponsorships from the tobacco industry and other unnecessary interactions with the tobacco industry.

The same DO further identified strategies for the effective implementation of the policy including: (1) information, education, and communication, (2) cessation interventions, (3) collaborations, partnerships and linkages, (4) capacity building, and (5) reporting and monitoring.

More information about the project and the comprehensive tobacco control policy may be accessed through its Facebook page: EskweLA BAN sa Sigarilyo (@tobaccofreedeped) or its website: http://tobaccofreedeped.org/.

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