Teachers Demand for Decent Salary, Gear Up for ‘People’s SONA’

The plight of Filipino teachers has been at its worst since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). Amid the recent surges in the prices of petroleum products and consequently of transport and basic commodities, it is but just to demand for a salary increase, said the group.

Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 25, july 27-August 2, 2008

As Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to deliver her State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28, teachers in public elementary and high schools expressed dissatisfaction over her performance. Apparently, they are a part of the significant percentage of Filipinos, which according to the most recent survey of Pulse Asia, has become cynical of what Arroyo will have to say in her SONA.

Last July 23, a ten-percent increase in salary was given to public schools teachers. Starting this month, teachers categorized in the Teacher 1 position – constituting the majority – would be receiving a monthly salary of P11,933 ($269.79 at an exchange rate of $1=P44.23). A similar rate of increase was implemented last year after a six-year moratorium in pay hikes.

Their salary, however, even with the increases, falls short of the living wage. According to National Wages and Productivity Commission, the daily cost of living is P871 ($19.69) per day or P19,162 ($433.23) per month for a family of six.

Teachers comprise one-third of the 1.5 million government employees. They suffer from stress because of overloading, worsening working conditions and low salary, says ACT. Their disconcerting plight contributes largely to the deterioration of the state of Philippine education.

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