"They are one of the most hardworking professionals in our society."
Christmas season is a time for giving. Perhaps, one of the most wonderful gifts our government can give this Christmas is answering the plea of our public servants, particularly our teachers, for higher pay.
Our teachers are one of the most hardworking professionals in our society. They are our second parents who provide us academic education and instill in us values from which we develop our beliefs, principles, and personality. More than that, our teachers are also significant community members and point persons in the implementation of our local programs for education. Their contribution to nation-building is undeniably significant. It is said that education is a good investment in human capital and a fair measure of a country’s economic growth. This is why our Constitution has put primary importance to the right of the citizens to education and has prioritized education programs in the annual budget allocations.
Sadly, the Philippines got the lowest mark in reading comprehension while second lowest in science and mathematics among the 79 countries which participated in a global survey conducted in 2018. The dismal performance of our students in the assessment calls for a more inclusive approach in improving the quality of education provided by our schools. It is high time that we not only focus on providing the infrastructure requirements, but also the personnel needs.
At present, the salaries of our teachers and other government workers including our equally hardworking doctors and nurses have been deemed insufficient to meet their daily needs and to have a decent amount left for them to save. Various groups from these sectors have been bewailing the seemingly low salary for entry-level professionals and the slow rise in the salary structure. Since then, this has been pushing our professionals to seek better employment opportunities abroad, leading to brain drain in the country.
This urged the filing of House Bill No. 2509, mandating the increase of the salary of public school teachers from salary grade 11 to salary grade 13, and so on by Congresswoman Aleta Suarez. This bill was one of the 104 measures consolidated by the House Committee on Appropriations into House Bill No. 5712, or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 which mandates the increase in the salary of government workers. including that of public school teachers, medical doctors, and nurses, by January 2020. The House of Representatives approved the consolidated bill on second reading before it ended its session this year. Meanwhile, Senate Bill No. 1219 was also passed which likewise consolidated similar bills on third and final reading. The said measure was marked urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Quezon province is pleased to abide with the proposed measures once passed. These laws will make equitable the salaries of these workers and commensurate to the value of their hard work. Through these measures, it is hoped that our public school teachers will be motivated to remain serving in public schools, while receiving benefits competitive with that of the private sector. For years now, we have also been supporting teachers in Quezon by providing scholarships for post-graduate studies through the Serbisyong Suarez program. This is to augment and advance their knowledge and skills in teaching, for the ultimate benefit of our dear students.
Teachers pour their hearts into their profession. Their work has become their legacy. They mold us into what we are today. I personally thank my teachers who have taught me many things and inculcated in me values which help me fulfill my duties as a father, husband, and a public servant. This Christmas season, I urge our government officials to give them their due. In the spirit of giving, let us give justice to their valuable role in society and grant them a fair and rewarding pay that will allow them and their families a decent and dignified living.