Manila Standard : BBM nixes new taxes for recovery

28 April 2022

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Presidential frontrunner former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. said he is against imposing new taxes to ease the burden of the people who are still recovering from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with a broadcast network, Marcos said there are many challenges confronting the country in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“Depends on what sectors and in what area but if it’s going to be, if the brunt of it is going to be felt by the consumers (general public), I wouldn’t be very partial to that for the simple reason that it’s very difficult that people, don’t put on weight… .people are already struggling,” Marcos said.

“Everywhere you look… there are problems, our educational system we really have to fix it very, very (quick) … We have to support the teachers more and when I talk about support not just the salary, not just the benefits, it’s also the training because, you know, the technologies, the new systems are moving so quickly,” Marcos said.

While he admitted that taxes was important for the government, he cautioned against increasing taxes “unless extremely” necessary especially if they would directly affect the ordinary and poor citizens.”

At the same time, Marcos emphasized the need to revisit the country’s educational system with a view to instituting reforms.

He said it’s about time that the government embarks on agency-specific scholarship programs.

He also vowed to address the lack of non-teaching staff in public schools resorting to work overload for the teachers.

“The teachers should have the benefit of knowing all of that so that they can teach the child, for our youth when they graduate, it’s really good to train them,” he added.

In the same interview, Marcos underscored the need to streamline the bureaucracy.

“We have to improve the bureaucracy, we have to improve the quality of public service,” Marcos stressed.

“The agencies should have scholarship programs like the DA will have scholarship programs for agronomist and agriculturist and hydrologists – those are the experts they need. If we need engineers for the energy side, then the DOE will have to sponsor scholars for that requirements . (If) we need good lawyers for the DOJ, then the DOJ will support scholars for that,” he said.

He stressed that one way to maintain high quality education in public schools is to reduce the non-teaching loads of teachers.

Based on studies, many public school teachers have ancillary works that don’t match with their specialties or expertise
For example, some teachers also act as librarians or even property custodians. Others are acting as nurses, canteen in-charge or even athletic heads.

Marcos said he wanted to change this unproductive system by filling the void in every public school and increase the number of non-teaching personnel, to relieve the teachers’ from being overburdened with work.

The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard bearer said adding non- teaching staff would give teachers more time to prepare for their lessons and focus only on what subjects they were assigned to.

“Our teachers have been complaining about this system for a long time, ‘the additional work,’ the non-teaching loads, it’s time to change and address it, so how? We need to hire more non-teaching personnel who are qualified for the job, what I am referring to are the things that teachers do too much that they should not be doing,” Marcos said.

“In that case, we can ease the work of the teachers, we can give them a long time to prepare, to prepare lessons on whatever subject they will teach, sometimes because our teachers, they become librarian teachers , they are also nurses, we still hear that there are people guarding the canteen,” PFP standard bearer added.

Marcos also stated that reducing the extra burden of teachers would also protect their mental health which was obviously affected during this pandemic.

“In this pandemic we have seen how the adjustment of teachers has been, it is really amazing, but we cannot deny that many of our teachers are having difficulty with their tasks, many are stressed, depressed and very affected. their mental health,” Marcos said.

In his previous pronouncements, Marcos said he plans to revisit Department of Education (DepEd) K-12 program, aside from that he wanted to do is also to increase the teacher’s salary and provide appropriate benefits for them.

In addition, the former senator is also planning to hire more teachers on permanent status.

“Of course, we will hire more permanent teachers, we really lack teachers, but as far as I know, DepEd does this annually, maybe we will speed up their application to fill our shortage of teachers,” he pointed out.