The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday called out an official of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) for supposed "credit-grabbing" on initiatives to construct administration buildings.
"In the June 8 social media posts by Raymond Basilio, Secretary General of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), he claimed that it was their actions that prompted the Department of Education (DepEd) to include the construction of administration buildings in its 2020 budget proposal," the DepEd said in a statement.
"To set the record straight, DepEd underscores that its funding request for the construction of administration buildings was based on its awareness of the needs on the ground," it added.
The department said that even before the story of teachers occupying comfort rooms and spaces below stairs in Bacoor National High School went viral, the agency had already coordinated with the Department of Budget and Management on May 21, 2019 about the need for additional school facilities.
"Included in the proposal was DepEd’s request for P24.98 billion to enable the construction of the initial batch of administration buildings, which will house the principal’s office, faculty room, guidance room, library, and school supplies and equipment storage during calamities. The preparation for the proposal came much earlier," the DepEd said.
The teachers in the Bacoor school were displaced when their offices were converted into classrooms to accommodate the school's implementation of a single-shift schedule for all students.
The school principal and the DepEd had since said that other available spaces in the school have been offered to around 200 affected teachers and it was their choice to occupy the comfort rooms.
The displaced teachers have already been transferred to the school's social hall of the school.
"The Department hopes Mr. Basilio will stop misleading our teachers and the public by claiming credit for DepEd’s initiative, while portraying that the Department is not doing anything about the challenges in the education sector," the DepEd said.
Basilio clapped back at the DepEd's accusation of "unnecessary claim for credit," pointing out that it is the government agency's mandate to ensure that the needs in public schools are addressed.
"It is unbecoming for DepEd to make an issue about credits. It's their mandate to provide the needs of public education in the first place," Basilio said in a statement.
He also questioned DepEd's claim that it was on track to cover needs on the ground, saying that many public school teachers have come forward and said that they have been stuck in the same situation for years.
"Teachers who spoke about CR-turned-faculty rooms after Ms. Herrera's exposé said that they have been in the same situation for years already and have actually spent a lot in the renovation to make themselves comfortable," Basilio said.
"If DepEd claims that it is well abreast of the facility shortages in public education, why then would the secretary call the Bacoor issue as isolated?" he added.
Moreover, Basilio urged the DepEd to publicly release its "comprehensive assessment of infrastructure and facility situation in public schools" to ensure that teachers' needs are indeed being considered. — BM, GMA News