9:21 pm | Monday, October 8th, 2012
COTABATO CITY—After years of handling classes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), more than 100 teachers finally received their appointment papers and took their oath of office before acting Gov. Mujiv Hataman on Friday.
“I thought we would remain volunteer teachers and would never have our appointment papers,” said Amina Ali, who has been teaching elementary pupils in Maguindanao for 12 years. She said her appointment was a dream come true and was long overdue.
The mass oath-taking took place at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex. Hataman was assisted by ARMM Education Secretary Jamar Kulayan.
Ali and several other teachers have completed the requirements to become permanent teachers, but for reasons unknown to them, they had remained volunteers for years.
“There appeared to be politics behind the recruitment and deployment of public school teachers in the ARMM in the past,” Ali said.
The teachers said they were willing to be deployed to far-flung areas to help push education reforms in the regional government. The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
“We should have been given priority since we have been volunteer teachers for so long and have the necessary experience,” she said as she recounted being sidelined whenever teacher recruitment came.
However, she would not blame previous education officials.
Aside from being volunteers whose teaching jobs came seasonally, they suffered from delayed payment of allowances. Hataman has facilitated the creation of a system that will stop the delay.
The reforms instituted in the Department of Education offices also resulted in savings amounting to some P162 million. Hataman also settled the unpaid premiums of teachers with the Government Service Insurance System. Edwin O. Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao