MANILA – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to amend the 57-year-old Republic Act 4670 or Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
In filing Senate Bill (SB) 2493 or Revised Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, Gatchalian said there is a need to address new and persisting challenges due to the education sector’s volatility and complexity.
“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 (The success of education sector depends on our teachers, but they continue to face different challenges in performing their duties. It’s high time to amend our Magna Carta for Public School Teachers and make it more suitable to the needs of our teachers,” he said in a news release on Friday.
Among the amendments he introduced 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 than those of an entry-level teacher.
SB 2493 also seeks to reduce the hours of classroom teaching from six to four to improve the teachers’ working conditions.
When the exigencies of the service are required, 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 percent of their basic pay, he said.
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.
It 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 back wages.
The bill also seeks to ensure the confidentiality of disciplinary actions against teachers and further seeks to institute a partnership between the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Public Attorney’s Office, which will extend legal services to teachers facing complaints and lawsuits about 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. (PNA)