By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — All’s well that ends well.
Public school teachers and other professionals heaved a sigh of relief after being assured by officials of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) that they will not be financially burdened by the implementation of the Continuing Professional Development law.
In the March 31 dialogue with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), PRC officials pledged to recognize government trainings and seminars as credit units in compliance with the looming implementation of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) law.
Republic Act 10912 has made CPD mandatory to all licensed professionals who are required to renew their license every three years. Under the implementing rules and regulation, teachers and other licensed professionals should gain 45 credit units in three years. Credit units are referred to as trainings given by a CPD provider accredited by the PRC.
ACT asserts that CPD is a right and should given as free social service, instead of adding burden to already-cash-strapped professionals, particularly, public schools teachers. The group was apprehensive that the program will be privatized as it was not explicitly stated in the recently-issued IRR that CPD program could be given free.
PRC Commissioner and CPD Oversight Head Yolanda Reyes said that the PRC did not want to add burden to teachers and said that free trainings and seminars given by the Department of Education (DepEd) can be considered as credit units. However, the DepEd should first be accredited as CPD provider.
Board of Professional Teacher Chairperson Rosita Navarro, meanwhile, said that they will raise the issue with the DepEd when they meet on Tuesday, April 4.
The March 31 dialogue was the second held this year between ACT and the PRC. The first was on March 19 when ACT showed their rage and opposition against the approval of the IRR. Leaders from the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) were also in the second dialogue.
Reyes and other officials presented what they have agreed with the Commissioner En Banc. The following were presented and also approved by the en banc:
1. Automatic accreditation of government agencies as CPD providers:
– Send Memorandum Circular to all government agencies regarding CPD requirement
– Amend the IRR provision on automatic and mandatory accreditation of government agencies
2. PRC to give stern warning to Innovations for Professional Advancement Inc. mentioned in DepEd Memorandum.
3. Should the DepEd fail to offer or accredit their programs with PRC this May, the deadline for compliance with CPD for teachers will be moved from June 30 to Dec. 31 this year.
4. ACT was assigned to monitor and report CPD providers that issue deceiving public announcement or information on assigned CPD credit units of their programs.
5. On the CPD credit unit limit given to self-directed learning track, ACT will submit a letter of request and jurisdiction for consideration of the CPD council for professional teachers.
ACT not consulted
Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general complained with Reyes that they were not consulted before the IRR was approved.
In the dialogue between ACT and the PRC in October last year, CPD Program Manager Gerard Sanvictores and Board of Professional Teachers Vice Chairperson Paz Lucido assured ACT that it will be included as teachers’ representatives in the drafting of the CPD IRR. However, on March 14, ACT found out that the IRR was already approved without their knowledge.
Board of Professional Teacher Chairperson Rosita Navarro said they have instead consulted representatives of the Philippine Association for Teachers and Educators (PAFTE) nationwide.
Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Capital Region (NCR) union president pointed out that ACT is the broadest registered teachers’ organization in the country and they should also be part of the consultation.
Reyes asked for their patience and guaranteed to include them in the next consultations.
DepEd-NCR’s deceiving memorandum
ACT also complained about a memorandum from the DepEd NCR Schools Division Office which appears to be endorsing the Innovations for Professional Advancement Inc, a CPD provider. Attached to the memorandum is the letter of Ronnie LL. Martinez, President of the Innovations for Professional Advancement Inc., introducing his company and offering services.
The same letter shows how each training program already has corresponding credit units. Navarro said credit units are only determined after the monitoring of the CPD program. The memorandum can be disregarded by the teachers, Navarro said.
“This is deceitful,” Reyes said during the dialogue.
Basilio pointed out that teachers might take this as an order from the higher ups which they have to comply. “Ang kawawang teacher, kahit na walang pang training, uutang ‘yan para maka-comply (The poor teacher will be forced to borrow money just to comply) ,” Basilio said.
The teachers outside the PRC central office in Manila are jubilant after Basilio relayed the points of agreement with PRC officials. Basilio said that struggle is not yet over as they have yet to see their agreements in paper. They will also seek dialogue with Education Secretary Leonor Briones to ensure that DepEd will implement free CPD programs.