DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 May) – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Davao Region has requested for a local government unit doctor from the City Health Office to be permanently assigned to the Department of Education to take care of around 8,000 teachers in the city.
The request comes even as the CHO has accommodated the teachers in the absence of a DepEd medical officer, whose post was part of the rationalization plan among the ranks of DepEd personnel.
The union has written the city government, through the city council, to formally ask for the opening of an item for their medical benefits.
The item was passed on first reading at the city council’s regular session Tuesday.
In the case of Sta. Ana National High School, for example, 272 teachers had to find other means to get their annual physical exam even with the CHO assigning its own personnel to check the teachers.
In a telephone interview, Sta. Ana National High School teachers union president Romulo Mamalias said this they had to shell out money for services that required fees.
He said some of the teachers were referred to other health centers in the city, such as the one at Mini Forest.
The teachers were required, through a DepEd division memorandum, to take mandatory blood, feces, urine and chest examinations, either through a mobile clinic commissioned by the agency or through the CHO’s facilities.
Other teachers have resorted to private medical facilities with the help of their PhilHealth coverage.
However, Mamalias said that even the PhilHealth coverage was not enough to cover the needs of other teachers who have used up some of the benefits.
“We’re pushing for the opening of the item, and maybe the free services of the government doctor,” Mamalias said.
The city’s teachers were involved in an argument with the division earlier this year, when DepEd required a mandatory drug and neuro tests for teachers taking their annual physical exams.
The memo was eventually withdrawn after the CHO revised its guidelines to make the neuro-psych tests non-mandatory, unless recommended by the physician.
The city council item, according to a copy of the week’s agenda, was assigned to the committee on education.