Retrenchment would be the last resort.Joint Guidelines. Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez presents the Joint Guidelines of DOLE-CHED-DepEd-TESDA on the Labor and Management Component of the implementation of K to 12 program during the Regional Education Summit held recently in Davao City. (Photo by Ryan Roldan)

This is the collective statement of government agencies and private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Davao Region during the recently conducted Regional Education Summit on the Labor and Management Component of Implementation of K to 12 Program hosted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Davao Region.

Participated in by over 200 school heads, teaching and non-teaching personnel from 96 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the summit resolved to support the move of the government as it pushed for the Tertiary Education Sector Transition Fund (TESTF) Bill which seek to cushion the impact of possible displacement of estimated 85,000 teaching and non teaching personnel in HEIs all over the country.

Davao region has a total of 96 HEIs, majority of them private institutions.

“The government is now taking significant steps to address the concerns on possible layoff of college professors as result of the full implementation of K to 12 Program. The Technical Working Group (TWG) is working and gathering data for the proposal on Tertiary Education Sector Transition Fund (TESTF),” said lawyer Benjo Santos M. Benavidez, the director of the DOLE’s Bureau of Labor Relations.

The TWG comprised the DOLE, Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA).

“Retrenchment (of teaching and non-teaching personnel in HEIs) is a measure of last recourse,” Benavidez said during the Press Conference in the Summit.

Based on previous reports, there are about 85,000 faculty members in private higher education institutions in the country; and 47,469 of them are full-time while 37,683 are part-time teachers.

“For school year 2016-2017 and school year 2017-2018, half of the 47,469 or more or less 24,000 full-time faculty members who are teaching first year and second year college may be retrenched due to foregone enrollment,” bared DOLE’s Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique Rubia-Tutay in a separate interview.

The regional summit passed three resolutions including: Resolution Supporting the Tertiary Education Sector Transition Fund Bill; Support to the Joint Guidelines of the DOLE-CHED-DepEd-TESDA on the Labor and Management Component of K to 12 Implementation; and Support to Inter-agency Action Plan.

Partner agencies were in full support to the event. Director Raul Alvarez of the Commission on Higher Education presented the directions of CHED on its K to 12 plans, while Director Nenita Lumaad of DepEd-XI was very candid on her discussion of the “gains and pains” the agency is experiencing on the Program; while Director Gaspar Gayona of TESDA-XI presented the possible asssitance the agency could extend to would-be displaced personnel.

Benavidez however assured the public that the government is ready to implement the K to 12 Program since there is still about two years to go before the full implementation of the Program.

The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education–six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School.

The program aims to provide students sufficient time to master concepts and skills and develop into lifelong learners, as well as to prepare high school graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.

Sherwin B. Manual/ DOLE XI