Solon proposes free med exams for teachers

ON THE last day to pass amendments to the 2013 budget, ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio today proposed to the House Committee on Appropriations to set aside P311.8 million for free medical check-ups for public school teachers.

The amount would enable the Department of Education to give more than 600,000 teachers a “medical examination allowance” of P500 per teacher beginning 2013.

Tinio lamented that the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act 4670) mandates annual medical exams of public school teachers to be free but national government does not subsidize it.  The ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers provides the same right.

Tinio stressed the rationale for the allowance in his proposal to outgoing Appropriations chair Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya:  “This right is granted under domestic and international laws because the practice of their profession exposes teachers daily to physical and nervous strain, and renders them as well as their students vulnerable to diseases and other health risks.”

“We are about to celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5, the 46th year anniversary of the Recommendation’s adoption in 1966,” said Tinio.  “Let the inclusion of teachers’ medical exam allowance in the 2013 budget be government’s gift for this occasion, and genuine expression of gratitude to them.”

During the deliberations for its budget before the Appropriations Committee, DepEd supported the insertion of a Special Provision under its budget that would make the allowance possible.  Secretary Armin Luistro and Undersecretary for Finance Francis Varela said that they are amenable to the allowance, provided that a source for the fund can be found.

Tinio proposed to source the allowance from the P4-billion Public-Private Partnership School Building fund.

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