/ 22 June 2022

A TEACHERS’ group sought a dialogue with incoming Vice President and Education chief Sara Duterte-Carpio to discuss teachers’ demand for salary increase.

“What we ask is beyond increase in our salaries, it’s about rectifying the decades-old mistake of the government,” Benjo Basas, national chairperson of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition, said.

Basas said that teachers’ salaries should be based on the recommendations of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a law created in 1966 to institutionalize and further protect the rights and welfare of teachers.

However, the law that currently governs the salaries of teachers is the salary standardization law of 1989 and its latest version, Republic Act 11466 or the SSL-5 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in January 2020.

“While we appreciate the previous salary adjustments under the SSLs, we could not help but express our frustration for the very small amount of salary increases which are divided in several tranches, a tradition under the SSL scheme,” Basas said.

Since the 15th Congress, the group has been lobbying for a P10,000 across-the-board increase for public education workers. It argued that the amount is reasonable enough as it would benefit all the teachers and employees regardless of their position.

“Teachers and government employees suffered low pay and limited benefits since 1989 when the salary SSL was first implemented. This unjust and discriminatory scheme should be ended. It only perpetuated our poor condition and low chances for socio-economic improvement,” Basas said.

The TDC argued that the government should use the recommendations under Magna Carta for Public School Teachers that says teachers’ salaries should be placed in higher positions in the salary scale.

And while other government personnel have their own salary scheme like those in the government-owned- and- controlled corporations, government financial institutions and military and uniformed personnel as well as government nurses, teachers’ salaries were pegged in low bracket under SSL despite having their own special law.

“The upgrading of teachers’ entry-level position to at least SG-15 or an outright additional P10,000 for all the Department of Education employees that should be over and above the SSL would at least put our salaries at par with other professionals in the government service,” Basas said.

“Lagi naming naririnig ‘yung ‘teaching is the noblest of all professions’ pero ang suweldo namin ang pinakamababa sa lahat ng mga propesyunal sa gobyerno,” he added.

The current salary scheme, according to Basas, should also be reviewed and amended in favor of the teachers.

“If the VP-elect would grant our request for dialogue this is the first item that we will discuss with her,” he said.