After Class Rally
Mother-daughter tandem Joyce and Cherizze Coyang trooped to the main gate of the House of Representatives after their first day of classes.
They braved the afternoon heat and joined some 200 members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers protesting the impending approval of the Salary Standardization Law 3 before the congressional bicameral conference committee.
They were there to press legislators for a 9,000-peso salary increase, instead of the proposed 6,500-peso wage hike favored by senators and congressmen at the bicam.
When I approached the elder Coyang and asked her why bring along your child in a protest rally, the proud mother said “thrice na siyang sumasama sa rally!”
At least, this early Cherizze is becoming socially aware and feeling for herself the hardships her mother has to undergo just to send her to school.
In the middle of the rally I remembered my mother, a retired public school teacher who was no different from the protesting teachers.
After her classes in school, my mother did tutorials to private school students to make both ends meet.
Other teachers I personally knew had a more difficult time - selling “tocino” to their students.
Some even had to quit teaching and work instead as domestic helpers, cleaning toilets and serving foreign masters despite having a college degree back home.
While there is really nothing wrong with selling “tocino” in public schools (in fact that is even more honorable than what our corrupt politicians are doing in other government offices) or working as a DH, it is about time we change the stereotypical view we have of public school teachers.
But sadly, last thing I heard, the bicam has already passed the 6,500-peso proposal instead of the 9,000-peso one.
Come to think of it, the difference is just 2,500 pesos and yet our senators and congressmen who are earning big bucks from kickbacks can’t give it to our poor public school teachers.
Because of our scrimping senators and congressmen, it seems Joyce and Cherizze will have to prepare for their fourth rally, but hopefully it will be their last.