Teachers forced to turn comfort room into faculty area in Cavite school

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 1) — Just days before the opening of classes, some teachers in a public school in Cavite were forced to convert a comfort room into makeshift faculty quarters.

Maricel Herrera, president of the teachers' association in Bacoor National High School, gave CNN Philippines video footage of the cramped faculty room.

Old toilet cubicles now contained teachers' tables.

Herrera said it was "too small" for 11 teachers.

Herrera said that on May 27, a week before classes resume on June 3, the teachers were informed that their faculty rooms will be used as classrooms.

"Walang problema doon kasi kung talagang kakailanganin ng bata, priority ang bata. Ang problema doon ay walang ibinigay na maayos na room, walang ibinigay na maayos na lugar para sa mga teachers," Herrera said.

[Translation: There's no problem with that because the children need it. They are the priority. The problem there is that the teachers are not given a proper room.]

Pressed for time, some teachers made an office out of the school's restroom, while others used the space under the staircase.

"Sabi nga ng isang teacher, CR yun eh. Wala namang matinong drainage na nandiyan eh. So pag sumingaw ‘yun o umulan, mainit yun pag umulan, ang singaw noon nasa teacher," Herrera told CNN Philippines.

"Hahanapin ka ng mga parents... Nandoon baka sa building ng CR na yun... 'Di ba nakakadegrade?” she added.

[Translation: A teacher said that's a comfort room. There's no proper drainage, so if it rains, the air would be humid for the teachers there. When the parents look for them, it's degrading to find them in the comfort room.]

Herrera is also a regional leader of militant group Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

To make matters worse, she said the teachers had to spend their own money for the repairs, shelling out at least ₱1,000 each.

CNN Philippines tried to verify the authenticity of Herrera's video but was not allowed to enter the school. The school's personnel also refused to give the principal's contact details when asked for comment.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' Newsroom Weekend, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they will look into the situation, but stressed it is an isolated case.

"We thank media for calling our attention to these things ... yung mga kulang sa facilities, meron pa ring mga ganyang istorya [lack of facilities, there are still stories like that]. But that does not speak about the entire picture of education itself," Briones said.

She cited that the department has been ready for the school year since last year, having addressed problems of classroom shortage.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.