by Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) assured yesterday the “continuance of salaries” of affected teachers as well as non-teaching personnel while school opening in war-torn Marawi City and nearby areas is still on hold.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that in coordination with the DepEd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the DepEd will continue to keep track of learners, teachers, and other personnel who have fled Marawi.
ARMM Assistant Secretary Marjuni Maddi said that DepEd ARMM teachers and personnel who were unable to report to duty during the Marawi siege will continue to receive their salaries and other benefits via ATMs. “They will continue receiving their salaries because they’re the ones who will need them the most,” he said in Filipino.
In the event the teachers and other personnel lost their ATM cards, Maddi said that DepEd will implement a mechanism that will enable them to continue receiving their salaries and other financial benefits. “It’s possible that when they were fleeing, many have forgotten their bags or wallets where they put their ATMs so we will find a way for them to receive their salaries either via checks or others,” he added.
Aside from this, the DepEd assured that psychosocial interventions will also be given to both teachers and learners to help them re-establish a sense of normalcy.
“Affected learners and teachers shall undergo psychosocial session,” Maddi said. “We need to guarantee that when learners and teachers return to school, they are personally, psychologically, and emotionally ready,” he added.
“Just like the learners and other citizens of Marawi, teachers also fled and sought refuge in other safe locations away from the ongoing armed conflict in their area…but that does not mean that they are missing or taken as hostages,” she said.
Briones further noted that the DepEd ARMM has already tracked down around 1,000 displaced Marawi teachers – majority of them are in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro—and is continuing to trace them to be able to provide the necessary intervention and assistance they need to cope with the situation.
The DepEd emphasized the importance of providing quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all learners nationwide, “wherever they are and whatever situation they may be in.”
According to Undersecretary Jesus Mateo, there are 18,526,583 enrollees from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in public schools nationwide – not including the ARMM enrollment data and the Negros Island Region (NIR). “The figure is still expected to increase as the enrollment in schools is still ongoing,” he added.
Mateo also reported that based on the latest data, there are 7,487 recorded displaced Marawi learners already enrolled in other regions. “Considering that Region 10 is the nearest safe location from Marawi, up to date, it has the most number of transferees from the city with 6,484 learners,” he ended.