Public school teachers in Tacloban City, one of the areas hardest hit by Typhoon “Yolanda” last November, were expecting assistance from the Department of Education (DepEd), but got something totally unexpected.
Instead of the much-needed financial assistance, they received a locally branded cosmetic kit that contains a lipstick and a face powder.
The teachers were handed the “gift” one by one on stage that has a slogan that said: “Feel good. Government workers & volunteers… Free haircut.”
Although disappointed, Josefina Tanpiengco, principal of Tacloban City’s Anibong Elementary School, tried to rationalize the gift by saying that DepEd must have wanted the children to feel optimistic every time they look at their teachers’ dry face and red lips.
Tanpiengco gamely had her picture with the cosmetic products in the foreground taken by Tudla productions and posted the photo on Facebook.
Her colleagues also expressed dismay over the development, saying they need financial assistance more than beauty products.
They said they feel neglected by DepEd, which even asked them to do make-up classes without extra pay for school days the students missed following the devastation of city because of Yolanda.
Tanpiengco said there were rumors before the program that each teacher will receiv e P5,000 cash assistance from the DepEd on top of the cosmetics. But all they got was the cosmetic kit, bottled water peanut-flavored biscuits.
She also lamented that the agency did not even give the teachers even a grain of rice, something that many of them needed especially in the days following the storm.
Tanpiengco said many public school teachers had repeatedly asked their supervisors to release the money the division office had allegedly received, but the DepEd officials denied receiving the supposed fund.
‘We are Not Clowns’
ACT Philippines secretary-general France Castro said she felt insulted that the teachers received make-up kits instead of financial assistance or food packs, saying that they were not beauty pageant contestants nor clowns who needed to wear cosmetics to make the students forget about their problems.
Eastern Visayas for Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) regional coordinator Efleda Bautista also supported the teachers, saying they did not receive any financial assistance or food packs from DepEd so they feel neglected.
Malacañang’s Memorandum Circular No. 59 dated and approved on November 26 decreed that a six-month moratorium is prescribed for loans with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Pag-ibig, and other government financial institutions in typhoon-hit areas.
However, Bautista revealed that even when there was a moratorium for loans, the teachers were still deducted their monthly dues for November and December.