The Department of Education (DepEd) should end its practice of requiring public school teachers to accomplish so-called accountability clearances at the end of every school year, a party-list lawmaker demanded on Wednesday.
According to ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, the practice runs contrary to existing DepEd rules and regulations.
“Requiring accountability clearances from teachers has been a long practice in public schools despite existing rules that mandate such clearances in certain cases only. Hence, our strong demand is for the immediate stoppage of the unlawful practice,” Castro said in a statement.
The lawmaker also cited DepEd Orders No. 17 (2005) and 25 (2003), as well has DepEd Culture and Sports (Decs) Orders No. 53 (1995), 22 and 23 (1993), 93 (1989) and 12 (1986), which state that a “clearance from property and other accountabilities is only required from teachers, officials and other employees only in cases of transfer, reassignment, resignation, retirement, and travel abroad.”
Castro however said that at every end of the schoolyear, teachers are forced to submit accountability clearances which entail numerous attached documents and other accounting tasks.
Accomplishing these clearances, she added, also requires teachers to run after several school officials to get their signatures, thereby “consuming teachers’ vacation time and causing an unreasonable burden.”
Castro issued the statement after her office received several complaints about school clearances allegedly being used by some principals and DepEd officials as “machinations to withhold the salaries and other benefits of the teachers.”
Clearances are sometimes used as “tools to harass teachers who insist on the no-clearance rule, or venues to collect money from teachers for missing or unreturned textbooks or destroyed property,” she added.
“Dahil sa iligal na clearance practice na ito, konsumisyon imbis na bakasyon ang binibigay kay Titser,” Castro lamented.
According to Castro, under the law, public school teachers are on a “teachers’ leave basis” where they are given a proportional vacation pay (PVP) or a paid vacation for almost two months.
However, she said teachers cannot avail of any sick leave during the whole school year.
“That is why for public school teachers, the summer months are the only time they can relax and bond with their families and recuperate from the stress of the entire school year. But they cannot do so due to the school clearance, on top of the additional tasks and clerical work given to them,” she said.
“DepEd’s failure to properly enforce its rules led to various interpretation and conflict in the field. Thus, we are urging Secretary Leonor Briones to immediately rectify the conflict and issue an order reiterating the no-clearance rule at every end of the school year,” Castro demanded.
- April 11, 2018