MANILA, Philippines – Senators Loren Legarda and Manuel Villar Jr. cautioned yesterday members of the House of Representatives against reducing the proposed pay increase for teachers.
Legarda and Villar were reacting to reports that House members are now inclined to support a measure proposing a lower salary increase to be given to teachers staggered over a longer period.
House Joint Resolution No. 24, authored by House Speaker Prospero Nograles, proposes to provide teachers a pay increase of P6,000 spread over four years.
Teachers’ organizations have opposed the House move, which drastically reduces the Senate version’s proposed P9,000 raise.
“Our public school teachers are already suffering a pay level below that of policemen and soldiers. Because of rising prices of commodities and services, their salary scale has suffered a real downgrade over the past several years,” Legarda said.
“It is time that we show our respect and concern for our teachers who are in charge of the education and morality of our youth. We should give them more incentives so that they will become more dedicated and committed to their risk,” she added.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA), and other allied groups said the pay cut provided under a new salary standard scheme for government employees would not allow them to provide their families a decent living.
Antonio Tinio, ACT chairman, noted that under the House resolution, Salary Grade 11 to be given to entry-level teachers was still lower than the salary grade of cadets of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
The Nacionalista Party of Villar is also pushing for the quick passage of new legislation raising by P9,000 over three years the minimum basic pay for public school teachers.
NP spokesperson and former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla said the NP was batting for the P9,000-increase over a shorter period “as part of a wide-ranging strategy to reinforce the foundations of basic education.”
Remulla said the House should instead pass Senate Bill No. 2408 proposing to raise from Salary Grade 10 to Salary Grade 19 the entry-level pay for all teachers in the public school system.
The Senate bill, strongly favored by teachers, was approved last year. –- Aurea Calica, Philippine Star