Graphics by Renz Palalimpa

Text by Jezreel Ines

What you need to know:

  • UP lecturers are contractual workers being paid on a class hour basis with a one-year contract renewed every year.
  • The UP Office of the University President on Sept. 23 released a memo excluding UP lecturers and other contractual workers from receiving remote learning subsidies.
  • Through the Office of the Vice President for Administration, the university has promised to act on the delayed salaries of UP contractuals. 

UP lecturers denounced the months-long delay of their salary as the university’s first-ever remote semester draws to a close this December.

Having no employee-employer relationship, UP lecturers are seen as part-timers with full-time jobs in their respective fields. They are paid on a class hour basis, having only a one-year contract with the university renewed every year.

From rushing the course packs to teaching remotely, these part-time faculty members have had the same amount of workload as full-time faculty members since August.

Yet UP lecturers lack incentives and subsidies such as year-end benefits and remote learning subsidies from the administration since they are not considered as full-time employees of the university. 

Given the nature of their work, UP lecturers this semester continue to suffer from salary delays and exclusion from incentives.

The Office of the Vice President for Administration has promised to act on the delayed salaries of UP contractuals in a Dec. 9 meeting with the All UP Academic Employees Union. 

Being paid in half, working for ‘free’

UP College of Mass Communication journalism lecturer Janvic Mateo said he has been working for ‘free’ since May.

He was still checking submissions and reaching out to his students even after the second semester of last academic year was cut short by the onset of the pandemic last April 30.

As of writing, he still has not received his monthly salaries since classes began September.

“So, basically everything that I did in the university since May ay wala pa akong incentive na nakukuha even up to this point,” Mateo said. 

When there were initial discussions on the shift to remote learning for this semester, Mateo was asked to create a course pack that will contain everything a student will need for the new learning setup, in a short span of time. 

“I immediately said ‘yes’ despite me knowing that it would mean having to allot so much time to make that course pack and naubos talaga iyong oras ko,” Mateo said. 

UP faculty members were rushing course packs before the opening of classes, with some of them not familiar with the basics of creating one. To address this problem, the university offered lectures and sessions on how to develop course packs. 

(READ: UP rushes course packs, offers limited class slots in university’s first dip in remote learning)

The UP Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs also promised in its Aug. 20 memorandum that faculty members, including lecturers, would receive an honorarium of P9,000 for complete course packs prepared for every three-unit course.

Mateo had hoped that this incentive would be given as soon as possible to support his needs for remote learning and to compensate for the time and effort he spent in making the course pack.

Meanwhile, College of Science biology senior lecturer Angelo Victoria did not get his full salary for his 12-hour teaching workload last semester while also suffering from salary delay this semester.

“I should be receiving ‘yung pang 12 hours per week na teaching pero basically kalahati lang ‘yung natanggap ko. I am handling a double number of students pero parang [para sa] isang section lang ‘yung binayad sa akin,” Victoria said.

While the issue is yet to be settled, the salary delay for this semester has made it more difficult for him to support his own needs for remote learning.

Victoria added that the salary delay was not an issue for him at first, because he looked forward to serving his students. However, he emphasized that the situation is more difficult compared to the pre-pandemic semesters.

“The bills do not stop, pero ‘yung bayad nila nagso-stop,” the biology lecturer said.

In a Sept. 23 memorandum released by the UP Office of the University President, full-time faculty members, research, extension and professional staff, and administrative staff are entitled to receive an internet subsidy worth P1,500 per month from July to December 2020 and a one-time device subsidy worth P6,000. 

There would also be a computer loan program for faculty members worth P70,000 within an 18-month payment period and P100,000 within a 24- to 36-month payment period.

Meanwhile, UP lecturers and other contractual university workers are nowhere to be found in the list of beneficiaries of this allowance program. 

“Hindi naman siya expected sana sa amin [lecturers], pero nakaka-aggravate lang din kasi you see them having those benefits pero ‘yung workload niyo parehas lang. Parang bakit sila mayroon?” Victoria said.

Supporting UP lecturers, contractual workers

Mateo and Victoria are only two of the 1,277 lecturers in UP Diliman who do not have employee-employer rights in their contracts. 

Lecturers are nearly a quarter of the total number of teaching staff in the university, according to the UP Office of the Vice President for Administration.

UP Staff Regent Mylah Pedrano sent a letter on Nov. 23 to the UP Board of Regents to appeal for year-end incentives for lecturers and job order (JO) or contract of service (COS) non-teaching staff.

Hindi dapat isantabi ang mataas na bahagdan ng JO, COS [at] lecturers na gumagampan ng mga core and essential task para sa Unibersidad. Dapat lang na sila ay gawaran ng year-end incentive ng Unibersidad bilang kapalit ng kanilang hindi matatawarang paglilingkod,” the letter read.

Tinig ng Plaridel attempted to reach Pedrano about the development of her appeal to the UP Board of Regents, but she has not responded as of writing.

Even though lecturers are part-time faculty members of the university, the All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) recognized that they are still part of the faculty and the academic community of the university.

“Yearly naman, ipinaglalaban ng Union even way before na makakuha ng year-end incentives ang mga lecturers and other contractual employees of the university,” said AUPAEU-Diliman Chapter President Mary Grace Concepcion.

The Union also called for the inclusion of lecturers, research assistants and professors emeriti in the provisions of the draft of the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) between the Union and UP administration. 

The CNA contains the principles, recognitions and benefits of full-time faculty workers in the university and is being updated every five years. 

The Union conducted a dialogue with the administration through the Union-Management Monitoring Committee (UMMC) to ascertain if the CNA is being implemented.

In the meeting of UMMC and the UP administration on Nov. 25, both parties agreed that there will be connectivity support for lecturers and JO/COS non-teaching staff through establishing a “mobile plan.” The line for the mobile plan will be addressed to their respective unit office.

However, there are no clear implementing rules and regulations from the UP administration regarding the mobile plan for lecturers and other contractual workers.

The lecturers across the UP system must also be paid for the whole first semester even with the reduced number of weeks, according to an email response from Vice Chancellor for Administration Prof. Adeline A. Pacia to Concepcion.

Meanwhile, under Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act II, a total of P300 million was allotted for subsidy and allowances of displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty in state universities and colleges.

Still, there are no clear guidelines from the Commission on Higher Education on how it will be implemented. 

No one should be left behind 

From the lack of necessary equipment to the need for financial assistance, the university’s shift to remote learning has underscored the daunting challenges faced not only by students but also by faculty members.

“We are not asking [for] too much pero sana iyong what we are entitled to receive man lang ay iyon lang sana iyong maibigay ng university. Kaya naman naming mag-improvise, pero mahirap kasi iyong sitwasyon nating lahat ngayon,” Victoria said.

Victoria added he will be leaving soon to pursue his doctorate degree abroad “to secure better opportunities” in the Philippines. 

“Kasi sabi sa akin, we will only hire full-time faculty sa College of Science kapag Ph.D. degree holder na. Gusto kasi nila iyong sinasabi nilang ‘finished product,’” Victoria said.

Still, Victoria hopes that the plight of lecturers like him will be addressed in the near future.

Meanwhile, Mateo hopes that the university and the government will recognize the plight of every member of the UP community, especially its contractual workers. 

“Dapat ‘yung suporta natin across the board, hindi dapat siya ‘yung pipiliin lang kung sino ‘yung dapat i-priority o kung sino ‘yung may regular status sa university. As much as possible, there is that need to support everyone given the situation,” the journalism lecturer said.

Mateo believes that the university should also proactively address the needs of its constituents to lessen the burden experienced by lecturers and other faculty members in the university, especially during the pandemic.

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