The Alliance of Concerned Teachers protested the P31-billion allotment for salary increase of government employees based on the proposed 2020 budget submitted by the budget agency to Congress yesterday. ACT said that the allotment would only amount to a “measly P1,845 monthly increase or P61 per day” if the 1.2 million government employees will be given equal pay hikes.
“The teachers are very disappointed. This is not what President Duterte has promised us. This amount does not even fit the definition of ‘enough to tide us over.’ We need substantial salary increase, not crumbs. This is unacceptable,” cried Joselyn Martinez, ACT chairperson.
Martinez called out the Duterte administration’s ‘favoritism of the police and the military. She said it is ‘extremely unfair’ for the government to spend P76 billion for the salary increase of more than 300,000 uniformed personnel but is only willing to give ‘less than half of the amount for civilian employees who are four-folds in number.’
“The Duterte government’s salary scheme tells so much of its partiality to war and repression over life, education and basic services. Clearly, all of President Duterte’s sweet talk about ‘malasakit’ is but a farce. Naduterte kami, pero hindi kami papayag!” said Martinez.
Martinez warned that the actual planned pay hike for teachers might even be lower than their calculations as ‘previous Salary Standardization Laws always gave less to rank-and-file employees and more to high officials.’ She said given Education Secretary Briones’ stance that salaries of public school teachers should not be too far from what private school teachers are paid, teachers have all the reason to be more worried.
“These skewed premises and bases on setting the salaries in government should be stopped. The prime consideration should be our right for decent standards of living and giving value to the teaching profession,” she added.
Martinez vowed that teachers will take on all available spaces to protest the ‘paltry’ pay hike and press for salary levels the teachers and other civilian employees need and deserve- no less than P16, 000 for Salary Grade I employees, P30, 000 for Teacher I and P31, 000 for Instructor I.
“As with the past regimes, teachers have learned that we cannot just put our hopes and our future in the hands of those in power. We can only rely on our unified strength and concerted actions in order to achieve our demands,” explained Martinez.
She said that ACT and various organizations of teaching and non-teaching public sector employees will be holding ‘vigorous lobbying campaign, school-based protests, government agency-hopping that will culminate in a nationwide protest on October 5, World Teachers’ Day.’
“The salary increase issue is the determining factor in the teachers’ approval of the Duterte government. If Pres. Duterte cannot grant even the most basic cry for decent salaries of the sector which he said holds a special place in his heart, what more for the millions of Filipino poor families? He will surely be fast discredited among the teachers,” Martinez said.