Lawmaker seeks ‘substantial’ pay hike for teachers

Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro on Wednesday filed House Bill 5990 upgrading the minimum salaries of public school teachers to Salary Grade 15, teaching personnel in higher education to salary grade 16 and minimum salaries of non-teaching personnel to P16,000.

Castro also filed House Bill 5991 increasing the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance granted to government employees to P5,000 from P2,000.

“The struggle for a substantial salary increase for teachers that would provide decent lives for them and their families is far from over. Salaries of teachers have been left behind compared to those professions with similar qualifications and workload since the Duterte administration doubled the salaries of its military and uniformed personnel,” Castro said.

TEACHERS’ PLIGHT. Members of the Alliance Concerned Teachers gather in a press conference held at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City to discuss their stand against the Salary Standardization Law 5 and its effect to teachers’ living standards. The group also announced the direction of teachers’ fight for decent pay and their coming activities. Photo shows teachers tearing a giant payslip to symbolize their rejection of the ‘measly’ pay hike given by President Rodrigo Duterte. Manny Palmero
Castro said teachers are only given increases of a little over P6,000 spread across four years, or about P1,500 annually.

This is a far cry from their calls for a substantial increase in salaries since these measly increases given in tranches will only be quickly eaten up away by excise taxes and inflation, said Castro.

“President Duterte cannot claim that government does not have money for a substantial salary increase for teachers. This is a matter of budget prioritization. The Duterte administration simply does not prioritize substantially increasing the salaries of its public school teachers and other civilian employees. The 2020 budget of the Duterte administration is a budget for war against its people, prioritizing the military over social services,” Castro said. Willie Casas

Castro said President Duterte has promised teachers many times that he will substantially increase the salaries of government employees especially public school teachers.

She said his promise to double the salaries of teachers fell on the list of failed promises of Duterte as his administration continues to put the clamor and needs of public school teachers aside to favor his militarist programs that wages war against its people, a ballooning black budget under the Office of the President and there are still reports of billions for pork insertions in the 2020 budget.

"Even after the full implementation of the Salary Standardization Law V in 2023, the frontliners in education will still be no better off than the police and soldiers in uniform whose salaries swiftly increased by 50 percent to 100 percent by the Duterte administration,” said Castro.

“Republic Act 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law V does not address the inequality between the salaries of those in the low- and middle-level salary grades, she said.

“Those under rank-and-file continue to be at the losing end. Yung mga mas nangangailangan ng tulong pinansiyal at ng mas nakabubuhay na sahod ay sila ring nakatanggap ng mas barya sa barat na umento na ipinatupad ng administrasyong Duterte. Habang ang mga nasa matataas na posisyon ay may malaki pa ring umento sa sahod,” said Castro.

“This bill provides a substantial salary increase for teachers and education sector personnel through salary upgrading closing the gap between their salaries and the cost of living. It will also address the distortion created by the doubling of entry-level pay of military and uniformed personnel,” Castro added.

PERA is a monthly compensation to all government employees, whether paid on salary, wages, or base pay basis across all agencies. This is considered a supplement to the basic compensation of government employees due to the rising cost of living.

“It is high time that government increase this compensation as its last adjustment was 11 years ago and would greatly aid government personnel for a more substantial relief from today's high cost of living,” said Castro.

"The Duterte administration has yet to fulfill his promise to public school teachers for a substantial increase in their salaries as the SSL V only provides measly increases to its rank-and-file employees. We urge the House leadership to immediately table these bills and swiftly pass them into law. Public school teachers have nothing to be thankful for with the recently passed Salary Standardization Law of 2019 of the Duterte administration and teachers will continue to demand for the substantial salary increase they deserve," Castro said. Willie Casas

Topics: Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro , pay hike , public school teachers , House Bill 5990

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