MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, May 29, helped renovate classrooms at the Wawa Elementary School in Navotas City as part of the Brigada Eskwela program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Robredo was pictured painting the walls of a classroom together with her several staff members of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
Several of the OVP staff members were wearing white t-shirts bearing the logo of Angat Buhay, the Vice President’s flagship anti-poverty program.
This is part of the OVP's contribution to Brigada Eskwela, DepEd’s annual public school repair volunteer program held before the official start of the school year. Students, teachers, parents, and community volunteers, and sometimes local government officials do repairs and cleanup of public schools.
The OVP is also set to donate P100,000 worth of Brigada Eskwela packages to different schools nationwide. This is on top of another P541,996 the OVP was able to collect from Angat Buhay, which will be donated to several schools for the repair program.
Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco and his brother, Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, were also at the school to welcome Robredo.
In her speech at Wawa Elementary School, the Vice President said Brigada Eskwela symbolizes how education is the obligation of the whole community, not just teachers.
“Ipinapaalala sa atin na hindi lang ito iyong pagtulong ng pisikal, pero ang ipinapaalala sa atin na iyong pag-e-educate ng mga bata ay hindi lamang obligasyon ng teachers, 'di ba? Hindi lamang obligasyon ng paaralan, pero obligasyon ito ng magulang, obligasyon ito ng community, obligasyon din ng local government unit,” said Robredo.
(This physical activity reminds us that educating children is not just the obligation of teachers, right? It is not just the obligation of schools, but also of parents, the community, and the local government unit.)
Robredo also expressed her support for raising the salaries of teachers.
In a chance interview with reporters at the school, she said: “Oo naman. Kasi iyong mga teachers talaga, mga bayani talaga. Ang dine-devote na oras, pagod, grabe talaga. Iyong buhay nila iyong paaralan na.” (Yes, of course [I support it]. Teachers are heroes. They devote much of their time and work very hard. The school becomes their life.)
The Vice President said many teachers are buried in debt because of the measly take-home pay they receive.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself said in January he wants the revenues to be collected from the second batch of proposed tax reforms be used to raise the salaries of public school teachers.
However, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno clarified that the teachers’ salary hike will not be happening this year, because no budget was allocated for it in 2018.
Education Secretary Lenor Briones also said teachers nationwide collectively owe the Government Service Insurance System P123 billion worth of loans. They also owe private lending institutions around P178 billion as of December 2016. – Rappler.com