By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Progressive lawmakers are proposing to declare May 16 of every year as National Education Support Personnel Day and a special working holiday to recognize the valuable role of education support personnel in the country.
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and France Castro filed House Bill 8968 in response to global community’s call to address the exploitation and abuses committed against the education support personnel (ESP).
“Education support personnel in the Philippines are ignored and undervalued just like their international counterparts. Non-teaching personnel in public and private education are paid inadequate salaries and benefits. The minimum pay for regular employees is far below the living wage, and the salaries of non-regular employees are even lower,” they said.
Under HB 8968, the Makabayan lawmakers want to declare May 16 as National Education Support Personnel Day in the country.
“Other concerns include lack of security of tenure, abuse of job order, contract of service, part-time and limited-term hiring, endo and other forms of contractualization, overwork and inhumane working conditions, unsafe and unhealthy work environment and lack of professional support and guidance, as well as possibilities for career development,” they added.
Tinio said setting aside May 16 as special working holiday would enable the society to celebrate and value the important role of education support personnel.
“This will highlight government’s duty to take concrete steps to promote and protect their status, rights, and conditions of service,” he said.
He asked the government to increase the budget to be spent directly for public schools and education support personnel and to institute policies to counter and resolve the issues hounding the public and private education.
Under HB 8968, education support personnel refers to a wide range of professional, administrative, technical and general staff working within the education sector such as teaching assistants, school doctors, nurses and psychologists; registrars and clerks; guidance counselors; librarians; bus drivers, among others.
The bill tasks all heads of government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations to encourage and afford sufficient time and opportunities for their employers to participate in any activity conducted within the premises of their offices in the celebration of the National Education Support Personnel Day.
The HB 8968 provides that the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commisson on Higher Education (CHED) shall prepare and implement the annual program of activities.