ACT says SSL is ‘consuelo de bobo’

Dec. 19, 2019

Photo courtesy of Alliance of Concerned Teachers

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) yesterday (Dec. 18) slammed passing of Salary Standardization Law 5 saying it is mere “consuelo de bobo.”

“The salary increase plan that (President) Duterte offers is not a fulfillment of his promise nor enough to tide state workers over,” said ACT National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez.

House Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Rep. France Castro, for her part, said that the salary hike is far from the substantial increase that President Duterte promised with regards to SSL 5.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed the Senate Bill No. 1219 and House Bill No. 5712, respectively, as consolidated bills for the pay hike plan.

This happened after President Duterte certified as urgent the passing of SSL 5, which aims to increase the salary of civilian government employees starting 2020.

ACT pointed out that are the Duterte administration already boasted of its “best Christmas Gift” to teachers and government employees. This “gift”, however, has been disappointing for teachers, said the group.

ACT said that the pay hike will not bring cheer to the four Christmases to come, as it would be implemented into four tranches.

The P1,564 salary increase of an entry level teacher is not worth the boast of the government, it added.

“This is not what our teachers and other government employees have been demanding from the government. Public school teachers and other government employees do not deserve a measly increase in their salaries that will only be eaten up by the increasing prices in goods and income tax due to the Train (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law,” Castro said.

As for teachers and rank-and-file state workers, the 10 percent increase in salary will be nothing but “government collectibles” as this would go directly back to government agency’s pockets with the increase in PhilHealth, Pagibig and GSIS contributions, alongside the deduction for the income tax.

“It does not fulfill the president’s pledge to dignify the teaching profession with pay level that compensate the weight of value of their work,” Martinez said.

As for Martinez, the teachers and rank-and-file employees doubt it’s the best the administration could give them because of the obscene amount of money spent in the recent SEA Games which garnered over P13 billion just for the construction of the New Clark City. In addition to the P63 billion and P70 billion increase in salary of the uniformed personnel in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“This only proves that the Duterte administration has no sincere objective to improve the lives of its civilian workers and SSL 5 is merely a mock consolation,” she said.

According to Castro, the Department of Budget Management (DBM) has propagated the pay hike basing on market forces and private sectors instead of favoring the effect of inflation rates and the living wage.

“Private institutions should not dictate the salaries of public employees, instead government salaries should be the benchmark of the wages of private institutions,” Castro said. “Teachers and other government employees will continue to demand for the substantial salary increase they deserve,” she added.

“However, logic, sense of social justice and even laws both local and international only put cost of living and qualifications as the primary concern in setting wage and salary rates,” Martinez said.

ACT promises to continue the call for a just pay hike for teachers and other government employees. Their fight continues, in behalf of all teachers, for the P30,000 basic salary.

“Bigger and bolder teachers’ protests will greet the president in 2020,” Martinez said.

As for Castro, the administration must be reminded, in case they have forgotten, that it is their responsibility to protect and cultivate the salaries of its employees justly. (Philip Bagay,HCDC intern/

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