By DANILDA L. FUSILERO
KIDAPAWAN CITY — Public school teachers here want to scrap the pork barrel and grant some PhP 38 billion to fund increases in their wages.
More than 2,000 public school teachers from this city and Makilala town signed their support for House Bill 245 to increase the teachers’ monthly salary.
The bill, introduced by (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio who held a consultation here Friday, aims to raise the monthly salaries of public school teachers to P25,000 from the current P18,459 while wages of non-teaching personnel to P15,000 from the present rate of P9,000.
Public elementary district supervisors from five districts and three zone leaders of the city’s national high schools also supported ACT’s bill.
ACT Teachers said the current budget of PhP 336.9 billion excludes salary increase for teachers. The group said an approximate of P38 billion is needed as additional funding by the Department of Education to increase teachers’ monthly salary.
Budget secretary Butch Abad said there is zero allocation for teachers’ salary increase in 2014 proposed budget.
Tinio assailed President Aquino’s priorities as he said that while “there’s more money for pork barrel, nothing is allocated for salary increase of teachers.”
He said government could not talk of success in education without giving decent salaries for teachers.
He added that the current pay scheme for public school teachers falls short of the standards set by the Magna for Public School Teachers.
“A duly licensed professional teacher at the entry-level position of Teacher I earns P18,549 monthly, substantially below compared to a high school graduate who enters the Phil. Military Academy as a cadet
earning a monthly salary of P21,709,” Tinio said.
For Professor Vilma Gonzalez, ACT Teachers Partylist North Cotabato coordinator, the proposed increase will be a relief for teachers who often face “perennial problems like moonlighting and being willing preys to loan sharks using their ATM cards.”
Gonzalez said the “teachers’ impoverishment” is also seen in teachers having to sell goods inside schools to earn additional income.
Makilala Councilor Madonna Dizon said that “supporting HB 245 will afford public school teachers a chance to reclaim their professional prestige and dignity as molders of the youth.” The Makilala
Sangguniang Bayan (town council) has endorsed the bill.
The Kidapawan City Council also endorsed the bill through Councilor Ruby Padilla-Sison whose resolution stated that “public school teachers are among the lowly-paid in the government service.”
Pres. Aquino has allocated P 27 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund, but announced new mechanisms to monitor and investigate the distribution to districts following public clamor to abolish the pork barrel.
ACT Teachers partylist and four other partylist groups belonging to the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives are calling for the abolition of the PDAF through House Bill 1535. (Danilda L. Fusilero/