Senatorial bets discuss teachers' rights, going nuclear amid power crisis

Senatorial bets discuss teachers’ rights, going nuclear amid power crisis

Senatorial candidates on Friday discussed the country’s present education system, stressing the need for protective legislation for teachers, who they said, must be spared from election obligations in succeeding polls.

Other issues discussed during Friday’s Unang Hirit’s Hiritan 2010: Senatorial Edition were solutions to the country’s current energy shortage, including a push for nuclear power; as well as the empowerment of the middle-class.

While welcoming poll automation, Liberal Party’s Sonia Roco (an educator) said teachers serving during elections are subjected to harassment. She suggested that public school teachers should not be made to serve in elections in the next polls.

“Magaling po ang mga guro natin… pero kung binibigyan po natin ang mga guro natin ng napakadaming responsibilidad na hindi ugnay sa pagtuturo, tulad ng pagbabantay sa eleksyon, dapat hindi na sila ang magbabantay dahil they’re subjected to a lot of harassment. Alisin po natin sa kanila ang [pamumulitika]. Huwag na po natin silang gawing active in the political process,” Roco said.

(We have excellent teachers, but they should not be burdened anymore with work that is unrelated to teaching – serving in elections – because they are subjected to a lot of harassment. Let’s spare our teachers from the political process.)

Also, Roco stressed that the education budget, particularly for state colleges and universities, must be reviewed first before proposals for budget increase should be made.

Meanwhile, Nacionalista Party’s Senator Pia Cayetano said she would continue to push for higher pay for teachers after the Senate overhauled a proposed measure teachers’ pay.

“We have unprogrammed funds – more than P100 billion, P56 billion from the motor vehicle fund, na walang destino (that are not allocated yet). Hindi natin alam kung saan ginagamit. Madali hong gamitin iyon (We do not know where they are used, and these are easy to reallocate to the education budget),” Cayetano said.

Former Cebu governor Emilio ‘Lito’ Osmeña, who is known for his administration’s development programs that triggered an economic boom in Cebu, said that the salaried class must be empowered to boost the economy further.

“We really have to develop the middle class. That’s the success of Cebu. How do we do that? First, by not punishing the biggest contributors to this government—the salaried class. The members of the GSIS, the members of the SSS, that money should be used only for them, and not for banks,” Osmeña said.

Osmeña, who is running under Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (PROMDI) also served as chief economic adviser to former President Fidel V. Ramos.

Energy shortage

With public outcry over recent rotating brownouts stemming from energy shortage, Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino suggested nuclear power as the long-term solution.

I think in the long-term facing a big problem brought by El Niño, and eventually, we must add the base load generating power. Since using coal does not conform to the Clean Air Act), let’s be honest to ourselves, nuclear power is the ultimate solution, Plaza said in Filipino.

Cayetano, however, suggested renewable energy sources to solve the shortage instead and blamed the Arroyo administration’s inaction on the problem:

“Nakakalungkot ho dahil itong problemang ito ay dapat nabigyan na ng pansin ng administrasyon noon pang six years ni GMA. Napo-project po ang pangangailangan. It is their responsibility.”

(This problem should have been acted upon by the Arroyo administration as early as six years ago. They should have been able to project the country’s future energy requirements.)

“Mas mahal ang renewable energy, pero mas maganda naman sa kalikasan. So kailangang may balance. Marami pa tayong reserba sa Palawan na pwede pang gamitin for natural gas,” Cayetano added.

(While renewable energy is costlier, it is friendlier to the environment, so we must try to strike a balance. We still have a lot of reserves in Palawan that could still be used for natural gas.)

The four senatorial bets were all guests on UH Hiritan 2010 on Friday. — LBG, GMANews.TV

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.