Labor malpractices, campus repression at Valenzuela city school criticized

Screenshots have been circulating around social media concerning instances when teachers were threatened with losing their jobs due to their Facebook posts expressing views that are critical of the government.

By ROGENE A. GONZALES
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — In less than 24 hours, a manifesto circulating online has gathered hundreds of signatures from teachers, students, and alumni of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) as well as supporters from other schools. The petition titled “An Open Letter to Mayor Rex Gatchalian Regarding the Labor Malpractices and Campus Repression at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela” serves as a platform to expose the hardships of contractual teachers and censorship of the student publication, and seeks to “make necessary reforms in favor of a democratic teaching-learning community and academic freedom.”

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, however, initially shrugged them off as “baseless” while parading the mantra of PLV being “the factory of world-class national teachers.” He has since earned the ire of netizens which erupted from a Twitter-tirade between Gatchalian and Valenzuela-based writer Jerry Gracio.

Screenshots have been circulating around social media concerning instances when teachers were threatened with losing their jobs due to their Facebook posts expressing views that are critical of the government.

Dhanica Ocumen, a former teacher of PLV, exposed the delayed issuance of salaries, and absence of benefits such as 13th month pay. The petition mentions that eight out of 10 teachers in PLV are contractual. Ocumen said that the opinion of teachers and students were policed by the administration. An attempt to form a genuine faculty union was thwarted in 2017, when University President Nedeña Torralba prevented the teachers from having a dialogue with Mayor Gatchalian.

Teachers and students decry the active surveillance of their online accounts especially those whose names appear in the petition. The problem lies with strict draconian policies explicitly mentioned in PLV’s Memorandum of Understanding.

The petition from Google form had to migrate to Change.org since reports of fake signatories sprung to discredit the legitimacy of the grievances. At a time when the Anti-Terror Bill is on the verge of being signed into law, petitioners maintained that the “PLV administration’s suppression of progressive thought has instilled years of fear shrouded in economic injustice and restriction to freedom of expression.”

Teachers and students are asking for more support and continue to encourage the community to speak up through #ProtectPLVTeachers. You can also help through signing the petition: https://www.change.org/p/an-open-letter-to-mayor-rex-gatchalian-regarding-the-labor-malpractices-and-campus-repression-at-the-pamantasan-ng-lungsod-ng-valenzuela?recruiter=105046725&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_petition&recruited_by_id=2fd4ebc0-eb24-11e3-a199-39cb4aec278d&utm_content=fht-22657168-en-us%3Av10 (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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