Pursuant to the mandate, Section 22 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers or Republic Act 4670 provides for compulsory medical examination “free of charge for all teachers before they take up teaching, and shall be repeated not less than once a year during the teacher’s professional life.”
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio of ACT-Teachers on Tuesday proposed to the House Committee on Appropriations to set aside PHP 311.8 million (USD 7,450,650) for free medical examinations for public school teachers.
Elenito Escalante, an ACT-Teacher officer in Davao City, lauded the move saying public school teachers in Davao region and the rest of Mindanao have been waiting for such medical support.
“We are about to celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5, the 46th year anniversary of the (Magna Carta for Public School Teachers’) adoption in 1966,” Tinio said. “Let the inclusion of teachers’ medical exam allowance in the 2013 budget be government’s gift for this occasion, and genuine expression of gratitude to them,” he added.
The solon’s proposal would enable the Department of Education to give more than 600,000 teachers a “medical examination allowance” of 500 pesos (USD 11.95) per teacher beginning 2013.
In a rationale presented to Appropriations chair Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, Tinio emphasized teachers’ rights to free access to medical exams “is granted under domestic and international laws because the practice of their profession exposes teachers daily to physical and nervous strain, and renders them as well as their students vulnerable to diseases and other health risks.”
Pursuant to the mandate, Section 22 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers or Republic Act 4670 (RA 4670) provides for compulsory medical examination “free of charge for all teachers before they take up teaching, and shall be repeated not less than once a year during the teacher’s professional life.”
The same section also states that “where medical examination shows that medical treatment and/or hospitalization is necessary, same shall be provided free by the government entity paying the salary of the teachers.”
Aside from free medical check-ups, the Magna Carta also mandates in section 19 the provision of special hardship allowances, which states “In areas in which teachers are exposed to hardship such as difficulty in commuting to the place of work or other hazards peculiar to the place of employment, as determined by the Secretary of Education, they shall be compensated special hardship allowances equivalent to at least twenty-five per cent of their monthly salary.”
“Dugay na ning Magna Carta for Public School Teachers. Niadtong 1966 pa ni apan daghan pang mga probinsyon dinhi ang wala nahatag sa panggamhanan (The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers was enacted into law in 1966 but a number of its provisions are not yet provided for by the government),” said Escalante of local ACT chapter.
In a press statement, Tinio said that there is a great possibility that his proposal will be materialized because of the manifestation of support coming from the Department of Education (DepEd).
The progressive solon said that during the budget deliberations before the Appropriations Committee, DepEd supported the insertion of a Special Provision under its budget that would make the allowance possible.
The statement added that DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro was amenable to the allowance, provided that a source for the fund can be found.
Tinio proposed to source the allowance from the PHP4-billion (USD 95.58M) Public-Private Partnership School Building fund. (Alex D. Lopez/davaotoday.com)World