6:12 pm | Sunday, October 7th, 2012
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—More than 100 teachers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao who did not receive their appointment papers for many years finally took their oath of office before acting Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman on Friday.
The mass oath-taking took place at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex with ARMM Education Secretary Jamar Kulayan assisting the regional governor.
“I thought we will remain volunteer teachers and will never have our appointment papers,” said Bai Amina Ali, a volunteer elementary school teacher in Maguindanao for 12 years.
She said her appointment was a dream come true and was long overdue.
Ali and several others had long completed requirements to become permanent teachers but for reasons unknown to them, they remained volunteers for years.
“There appeared to be politics in the recruitment and deployment of public school teachers in ARMM in the past,” the visibly overjoyed mentor recalled, almost in tears.
Now with the appointment papers, Ali and more than 100 others will be willing to be deployed to far-flung areas to help push education reforms in the regional government.
Volunteer teachers’ jobs came on a seasonal basis and their allowances were usually delayed.
Ali recalled seeing teachers with the same educational level, qualifications and completed requirements as those of volunteer teachers, getting the regular teaching appointments.
“We should have been given priority since we have been volunteer teachers for so long and have the necessary experience,” she said about being sidelined when teacher recruitment came.
She refused to blame previous education officials and simply said they were all happy they were recognized by the administration of Hataman and Secretary Kulayan.
Hataman, aside from ensuring the processing of the teachers’ appointment papers of teachers, guaranteed the prompt release of their pay.
Hataman has reported P162 million in savings due to the reforms he instituted in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. He has also settled the unpaid premiums of teachers with the Government Service Insurance System.
ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-