DAVAO CITY, Philippines — On the first day of this school year, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called anew for the increase in salary of public school teachers.
The group considered the low salaries of teachers the ‘biggest and most urgent shortage’ on this school opening.
“Some 800,000 teachers suffer due to very low pay that is unable to afford them a decent life. Such abandonment of the very backbone of the public education system in the country vividly reflects how the state values education, hence our stance that teachers’ salaries is the top most pressing issue this school opening,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
The group said the minimum salary of a teacher falls short of what considered as the family living wage. Teacher 1’s salary of Php20,754 is still insufficient from the minimum Php23,660 budget needed by a family estimated by research group IBON Foundation.
Basilio added that the “paltry” salary adjustment implemented by the Aquino administration was negated by the steep increase in the prices of basic commodities.
Years of waiting for the salary hike promised by President Rodrigo Duterte is “becoming more unbearable by the day”, the group said.
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and France Castro joined the call of the teachers, and urged Duterte to make the salary increase a top priority.
Rep. Castro said that teachers continue to fulfill their duty despite dealing with the same old problems in classrooms, facilities and learning materials. “It is only just that the state compensate the dedication of public school teachers with decent salaries that they have long been calling for,” she said.
It is high time for the Duterte administration to fulfill its promise to the teachers, Rep. Tinio said.
“Teachers are merely asking for salary increase that would provide their families decent lives,” he underscored.
The lawmakers called on Duterte to urged the Congress to act on the various salary increase bills languishing in Congress. The ACT Teachers has filed House Bill No. 7211, which proposes P30,000 minimum pay for public school teachers, P31,000 for teaching personnel in state universities and colleges, and P16,000 minimum pay in government
“Rather than making another promise, President Duterte should wake Congress up and make salary hike the foremost in his legislative priorities,” Castro added.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said that Duterte administration is working on the salary increase of teachers, as the president previously ordered his economic managers to look for funding.
“The President is working on that and hopefully that can be responded to. Our economic managers are doing everything to see how things can be done,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.
Duterte promised that teachers will also receive pay hike after the salary for military and police was doubled on 2018.
“The President has not been reneging on his commitment but as you all know, there have been many things that occurred during the three year term and the President had to increase the salaries of the soldiers as well the PNP as he ably explain these are the front liners in securing our country and when they go out of their homes, half of their feet are already buried on the ground,” Panelo said. (davaotoday.com)