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Teachers' group renews call for salary hike, less workload on Nat'l Teachers' Day

In celebration of National Teachers’ Day, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers - Philippines (ACT) on Wednesday urged the Marcos administration to upgrade their salaries and reduce their workload and teaching time, among others.

ACT said it is “high time” for the government to address the problems of teachers and the education sector in general by firstly, raising the salaries of Teacher 1 to Salary Grade (SG) 15, and Instructor 1 to SG 16.

They also called for a P30,000 minimum salary for private school teachers, and a livable national minimum wage for SG 1 employees and non-teaching personnel in private schools.

Around 50,000 National Capital Region public school teachers on Tuesday sought congressional help in raising their entry-level salaries from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15.

ACT also reiterated their petition for an eased workload and to reduce their actual teaching time to four hours daily.

They also asked for an additional compensation for teachers who render work beyond their regular duties and work schedule, and to junk the 15 days per year limit in granting service credits.

They also requested the government to provide laptops, a P1,500 monthly internet allowance, and P10,000 annual cash allowance to every teacher in the country, and to implement an evidence-based education recovery plan, and overhaul the K to 12 program.

Aside from these, ACT also appealed to double up the budget for the education sector, equivalent to 6% of the country’s gross domestic product, and to fund the safe resumption of face-to-face classes.

ACT stressed that uplifting the teachers’ conditions is vital to education recovery in the country, and the government should thus take care of them who breathes life to the education system.

“The gravity of the current education crisis brought about by decades of state neglect has rendered our teachers more overworked, underpaid and under supported than ever. Measly government spending on education has created big shortages in schools, classrooms, facilities, teachers, education support personnel, and teaching and learning resources,” ACT said in a statement.

“We will not be able to propel education recovery without resolving the teachers’ problems of overwork, low salaries and lack of government support. We will not be able to negate the impacts of the pandemic on education if the government does not effect bold and game-changing measures that can alter the course of our declining educational system.”

As part of the celebration of the National Teachers’ Month, Department of Education (DepEd)  spokesperson Atty. Michael Poa earlier announced that public school teachers will receive a P1,000 incentive.

Poa said on Monday that the P1,000 incentive was already downloaded to 925,178 teachers nationwide.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro, on the other hand, said the country's 6.9% inflation rate should already prompt a salary increase for teachers.

"Today is World Teachers' Day but up till now the salaries of teachers are hardly enough to make ends meet. Lalo pa ngayon na 6.9% na ang inflation rate sa bansa at kung sa usapin naman sa pagkain ay 7.7% na ito. Tama lamang ang panawagan ng mga guro na itaas ang kanilang sahod," Castro said in a statement.

"Entry level for public school teachers or Teacher I should be Salary Grade 15 or P35,097 and at least P30,000 for private school teachers. The government always say that the future of our children depends on our teachers but why is it that they are always overworked yet short changed. What our teachers need now are higher salaries and no amount of flowery words or rhetoric can change that," she added.

Davao Cit Representative Paolo Duterte, for his part, sought additional benefits for teachers under his House Bill 4697, which provides teachers scholarships for their graduate and post-graduate studies.

To be eligible for the scholarship, the applicant should be in active duty for at least two consecutive years immediately prior to the date of application for the grant.

The scholarship is applicable in all state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Scholarships under HB 4697 covers teachers, guidance counselors, school librarians, industrial arts and/or vocational instructors, and other persons performing supervisory and/or administrative functions  either on a full-time or part-time  basis in public schools, colleges and universities.

Duterte's proposal also includes provision of educational cash assistance to children of teachers enrolled in college courses in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Other authors of the measure include Benguet Representative Eric Yap and ACT-CIS party-list Representatives Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano.

“The role of teachers goes beyond the four walls of the classroom and their work schedule. Outside of their lesson plans, they instill moral and civic values to the Filipino youth. They invest their knowledge, time and energy in molding our youth," the authors said.

"It is high time for the State to do the same for our educators, who are considered among the pillars of our society,” they added.

House Bill 4697 also states that retired public school teachers are also allowed to avail of educational cash aid for their children, but for only a portion of the full amount to be determined by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which will implement the bill’s provisions along with the Department of Education (DepEd). —KBK, GMA News