By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Teachers are not at all happy with President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of salary increase for government employees.
In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) July 22 Duterte urged Congress to pass a new Salary Standardization Law (SSL).
“To the teachers, who toil and work tirelessly to educate our young, kasali na po dito iyong hinihingi niyo. Hindi naman masyadong malaki pero (it is not that big but) it will tide you over during this hard time. This is intended to increase salaries of national government workers, including teachers and nurses,” Duterte said.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) fears that Duterte refers to Christopher “Bong” Go’s bill of a P588-increase in the pay of salary grade 1 employees, with the rest of the grade levels following accordingly.
“If anything, it raises further anxieties among teachers who are hardly making ends meet due to very low pay amid incessantly soaring prices, and who have waited restlessly over the last three for the fulfillment of President Duterte’s promise to give due recognition to the value of our service and profession.”
“Such an amount is an insult to our service and contribution to national development,” the group said.”‘A little bit bigger’ will not afford us decent lives and will not bring dignity to our profession.”
In a separate statement, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro pointed out that Duterte’s ‘a little bit bigger’ pay hike is very far from the doubled salaries he gave to uniformed personnel.
In January 2018, Duterte signed a joint resolution providing salary increase for police and military, raising the base pay of a fire or jail officer, a police officer and a soldier to P29,668. A technical sergeant in the military and a petty officereach get a monthly base pay of P32,756. Then, a master sergeant, a senior fire or jail officer 1, a senior police officer and a chief petty officer gets P33,411.
Meanwhile, Teacher 1 under Executive Order 201 gets P21,915 while salary grade 1 government worker only has P11,348.
“‘A little bit bigger’ will not be enough for a decent living wage for teachers that shoulder the shortages in school facilities and materials,” Castro said.
ACT Teachers Partylist filed House Bill 219, which proposes P30,000 for Teacher 1 and P16,000 for Salary Grade 1.
“‘A little bit bigger’ is not what he promised us. Hence, we pledge to remain steadfast in our demand for a substantial salary increase because we deserve A LOT MORE than what this administration is offering us, and we shall not cease until we get what is rightfully ours,” ACT said.