Teachers’ union in Bicol act on delayed public sector unionism orientation

By Angel De Mesa

LEGAZPI CITY – Orientation for Public Sector Unionism was held in DepEd Region V Office yesterday in preparation for ACT Union Bicol’s Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) after its accreditation seven months ago as sole organization of teachers here in Bicol.

According to Nicanor Sambitan president of ACT Union Bicol, they made the orientation to happen through Civil Service Commission in accordance with the rights and privileges of union’s educators since they believe that nothing will happen if they just continue to wait for it.

Certificate of Accreditation No. 1075 was awarded to ACT Bicol last December 22, 2016 and formally turned over on February 13, 2017 at DepEd Regional Office , Rawis, Legazpi City.

During the turn over ceremony on February 2017, DepEd Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede said that it is the turn for the teachers to have their own CNA benefits.

“CNA will be discussed, our terms and conditions on how we can have agreement with the management, teaching and non-teaching staffs, and between us.” Abcede said. “This is not only in one sector but for everyone especially for our students.”

Until now the Union is said to make the proposed CNA, a contract negotiated between an accredited employees’ organization and the employer or management, that will be approved by other members of the union.

“Technically this is a good start because we have the effort that eventually our ordinary teachers will have the opportunity to lobby their issues with DepEd Region 5 management. On the other hand, we are disappointed because as mentioned earlier on December 2016, certificate of accreditation has been already awarded to the Union, that is already seven months and still we are here at the orientation stage”, said Raymond Basilio, national secretary general of ACT Teachers.

Orientation in DepEd regional office. Baretang Bikolnon photo

There are still cases of not recognizing the teachers’ union in other provinces.

According to Alwin Paloma of ACT Camarines Norte, the Public School District Supervisor of Sta. Elena Camarines Norte neglected and did not recognize the ACT Union.

“I asked him, why? Then he just stated that only the Civil Service Commission (CSC) recognized us. This just happened only after I insisted that the ACT Union should sit upon the Municipal School Board meeting,” Paloma said.

ACT Union Bicol suggested to incorporate proper disciplinary action to those who do not respect and recognize their union including the rights and welfare of the teachers.

“Why not ask the management to also build harmonious relationship with the employee because it is always us on the down level (teachers) who are always taught what to do. Kaya kami nakikibaka, we the teachers, because the right and privileges for us were not properly given”, said Edmond Morato, school head of Sigad Elementary School in Sorsogon.

ACT Union Bicol joined the ranks of ACT NCR, ACT Davao Region, and ACT Region 6 as accredited unions, representing 180,000 public school teachers nationwide. ACT Union Bicol alone is the exclusive negotiating agent of the 50,000 public school teachers of Bicol Region.

According to Basilio, they will be having a decisive action after Duterte’s State of the Nation Address against the secretary of the Department of Education since the start of its term they believe nothing happened except for the continuous sufferings of the teachers.

“Apparently, we don’t just depend on legislative actions, we also lobby on some respective offices through mass actions to voice out our issues to quickly address it. Because if we are just going to hope on the congressmen our laws will take decades”, Basilio added. (With report from Reynard Magtoto/BaretangBicolnon.com)

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