THE Teachers’ Dignity Coalition once again called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to fulfill his promise of increasing the salaries of public school teachers.

/ 28 May 2024

THE Teachers’ Dignity Coalition once again called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to fulfill his promise of increasing the salaries of public school teachers.

“The school year is almost over, but the pay increase anticipated for 2024 has yet to materialize. It’s a small amount, but the government’s action is taking so long,” Benjo Basas, TDC national chairperson, said.

Basas referred to the supposed salary adjustment for fiscal year 2024, as confirmed by the Department of Budget and Management last year and assured earlier this month.

DBM officials, during a meeting with TDC leaders last October, hinted at a budgetary allocation of more than 16 billion pesos for government employees, including teachers, but the amount would only range from 2 to 8 percent of the current salaries.

“This fiscal year 2024 is the second year that the Marcos administration has planned the national budget, but there is still no clear plan to raise teacher and other employee salaries. It appears to fall far short of the promises he made during the previous election campaign,” Basas added.

During the campaign for the presidency in 2022, Marcos stated that if he wins, he will augment the salaries of teachers and provide free training for them and scholarship grants for their children.

“We need to provide our teachers with all the necessary support because they are molding our young students to become better, responsible, and productive citizens who, in turn, would become the country’s future leaders,” Marcos said two years ago.

Besides this promise, Basas also recalled Marcos filing bills that would upgrade the salaries of public school teachers from salary grade 11 to 15 under the Salary Standardization Law in the 15th and 16th Congresses. The nominal value of this grade is currently P36,616.

“Now that he is the most powerful person in the country, he can expedite the enactment of a substantial increase in our public school teachers’ salaries. He could choose a bill and certify it as urgent,” Basas said.

The TDC has been advocating for the upgrading of teachers’ entry-level salaries to at least salary grade 15 or the enactment of the P15,000 across-the-board increase for teachers, or any other increase that would significantly enhance the living conditions of teachers and their families.

The group argued that the existing salary scheme, the Salary Standardization Law since 1989 has failed to fairly compensate public mentors, especially those in lower positions.

The law places teachers at a salary grade of 11, the lowest among government professionals. Basas said his group is working with some legislators to draft bills for a teachers’ compensation package that aligns teachers’ salaries with the standards outlined in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670) rather than the SSL.

The TDC called on Marcos, as well as Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, to honor their commitments and deliver on their promises. According to Basas, the group is open to dialogue with the president so that he can hear the teachers’ sentiments directly.

“If he has time for us, and if he wants to prove that teachers and the education sector are among his priorities, as he stated during the campaign period, he should talk to the teachers and fulfill his promise,” Basas said.