Worse Off Than Soldiers
Or why mutineer Trillanes would be in a
worse rut as a teacher
Magdalo group’s siege of Oakwood Hotel in Makati City last July 27, a day
before the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), highlighted the
sorry plight of soldiers who have to make do with, among others, low salaries.
Due to his disenchantment with the military, Navy Lt. Senior Grade Antonio
Trillanes IV, was quoted as saying that he may quit the service and go into
teaching instead. If his plan materializes, he will find himself in the same
rut, given the unrewarding toil that teachers go through.
DANILO ARAÑA ARAO
to teachers, soldiers are somewhat better off although privates and junior
officers are also subjected to exploitation and oppression by their superiors.
the Magdalo group’s manner of seeking redress through an armed uprising may
not sit well with the public, even the government admits that the gripes of
disgruntled soldiers in Oakwood Hotel last July 27 are legitimate.
the soldiers, however, the government does not recognize the legitimacy of the
teachers’ demands. This had been the case through the years, even if public
school teachers comprise about one-third of the bureaucracy, the biggest sector
among government employees.
the administration of ousted President Joseph Estrada, teachers were even
branded hotheaded and impatient when they asked why their salaries were delayed.
In October 1999, Estrada scrapped the teachers’ amelioration pay since this
meant savings for the administration amounting to P10.5 billion. The
amelioration pay is supposed to be equivalent to the teacher’s one month
salary, but not less than P7,500 ($138.25, based on an exchange rate of P54.25
per US dollar).
the height of the controversy which involved the use of expensive vehicles of
education officials including then Education Secretary Andrew Gonzales, the
latter even chastised complaining teachers for failing the understand the
“necessity” of his use of a Ford Expedition instead of a cheaper model.
current administration proves to be no different, since teachers as a sector
have not yet experienced any salary increase.
Arroyo administration also still refuses to grant the backpay of the cost of
living allowance (COLA) from 1989 to 1999, even if lawyers like the General
Counsel of the University of the Philippines (UP) argue that there is “more
than enough” legal basis to do so. Assuming that he or she has worked in
government continuously from 1989 to 1999, a worker can get as much as P70,000
($1,290.32) from this backpay.
from the continuing fight to regain their benefits, teachers have to struggle
with very low wages.
public school teacher with the item Teacher 1 (Salary Grade 10) only receives a
gross pay of P9,939 ($183.21) monthly. In the military establishment, a Private
gets the same salary, according to public school teacher Charito Siapno.
the college level, an Instructor 1 (Salary Grade 14) gets a gross monthly pay of
P12,546 ($231.26). Based on Siapno’s research, a Staff Sergeant gets the same
salary since he or she belongs to the same salary grade.
her July 11 open letter to President Arroyo, Siapno also “sees the folly of
(the situation where a Chief) Master Sergeant (has) the same salary as the
District Supervisor II of DepEd (Department of Education).” She claims, “The
Master Sergeant…is just a high school graduate compared with principals and
supervisors who are holders of Master's Degree.”
addition, an Assistant Professor 1 at the college level belongs to the same
salary grade of a Chief M/Sgt and District Supervisor II (i.e., Salary Grade 18)
and consequently receives a gross monthly pay of P15,841 ($292).
salary for PMA cadet
regards salaries, Siapno asked if “this administration looks so lowly at…the
teachers.” She stressed that a cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)
belongs to Salary Grade 19 and “receives an even higher salary than the
District Supervisor who is an MA degree holder and who has served the government
at least 15 years.”
the discrimination against teachers, low-ranked public school teachers, junior
faculty, privates and junior officers in the military all receive salaries that
are below the prescribed family living wage.
to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), a family of six living
in Metro Manila needs to earn P556 ($10.25) daily or P16,680 ($307.46) monthly
to fulfill food and non-food requirements, as well as provide for 10% savings.
other regions, the family living wage ranges from P366 ($6.75) daily (Eastern
Visayas) to P714 ($13.16) daily (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao). This
means that on a monthly basis, a family of six needs to earn from P10,980
($202.40) to P21,420 ($394.84).
teachers may be worse off than soldiers, but they are both in the same rut as
far as government neglect is concerned.
however, may now be an understatement, as “abandonment” proves to be the
more appropriate term. Bulatlat.com
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