HEART'S DAY DONATION. Education Undersecretary Kris Ablan joins other education personnel in the blood donation drive, alongside the celebration of Valentine's Day on Tuesday (Feb. 14, 2023). The DepEd said a total of 75 individuals donated blood during the activity. (Photo courtesy of Facebook page of Kris Ablan)

MANILA – Several officials and personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday donated blood alongside the celebration of Valentine's Day.

In a Facebook post, DepEd undersecretary Kris Ablan said he spent the heart’s day morning with other DepEd personnel for a blood donation drive, which was then followed by several meetings.

“42nd blood donation. My goal is to donate as much as my age. A couple of more years,” he said.

Besides Ablan, 74 other blood donors joined the bloodletting activity.

Kabuoang 75 donors ang mga lumahok na empleyado ng central office sa bloodletting activity na naisakatuparan sa tulong ng Veterans Memorial Medical Center (A total of 57 donor-employees at the central office joined the bloodletting activity which was done with the help of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center,” the DepEd said.

Teachers’ welfare

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Philippines, meanwhile, conducted Valentine’s Day protest to increase the salary of teachers and decrease their workload.

The DepEd, during the Basic Education Report (BER), has stated its efforts to address the concerns of teachers, including the hiring of teaching and non-teaching personnel to scrap administrative tasks on their load.

Prior to the celebration of heart’s day, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte assured the DepEd is working closely with various sectors to put a premium on ensuring the welfare of teachers.

Duterte made the statement as she joined the 28th founding anniversary and 4th Bodong Festival in Kalinga on Monday.

Vice President Sara Duterte delivers her speech during the Kalinga 28th founding anniversary and 4th Bodong Festival on Monday (Feb. 13, 2023). (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Vice President)

 “Nire-review namin ang Magna Carta for Public School Teachers at patuloy ang pakikipag-usap namin sa mga members ng House of Representatives at Senate kung paano mau-update ang ating batas sa Magna Carta for Public School teachers (We are reviewing the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers and we are continuously discussing with the members of the Congress to update our law for the rights of the public school teachers),” she said.

Apart from discussions with legislators, the DepEd also tapped the Department of Health (DOH) to respond to calls for free medical check-ups for teachers.

Likewise, Duterte said they are also coordinating with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to address several concerns.

At sinasabihan namin sila na dapat po buwan-buwan ay mayroon kaming coordination meeting hanggang sa maayos namin ang mga accounts ng ating mga teaching and non-teaching personnel sa Department of Education (And we’re instructing them to have monthly coordination meeting with us until we manage to organize the accounts of our teaching and non-teaching DepEd personnel),” she added.

Duterte also cited the DepEd’s efforts to provide free legal assistance to educators, especially when it comes to issues concerning contracts and loan obligations.

Napakahalaga po na maintindihan niyo kung ano ang pinipirmahan ninyong kontrata at ma-explain sa inyo ng isang abugado kung ano po ang mangyayari kapag kayo po ay in default sa inyong pagbabayad sa inyong loan obligations (It is very important for you to understand what kind of contracts you are signing and for lawyers to explain what will happen if you are in default of your loan obligations),” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, Duterte said the community must prioritize investing in the education sector as it serves as the “greatest equalizer” in the community.

The DepEd also underscored the need for a collective effort to protect children and the youth who are susceptible to drug addiction and insurgency. (PNA)