Teachers group questions gov’ts sincerity over pay hike

BAGUIO CITY — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) is questioning the government’s sincerity in granting teachers with substantial salary increase due to the contrary statement from the budget department.

The teacher federation said that Pres. Duterte’s unclear statement on Oct. 6 of “35… or more” planned pay hike for teachers was contradicted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in a Senate meeting on Oct. 8 wherein the budget agency declared that they recommend only up to 21% salary increase to be given in three tranches. 

Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Chairperson claims that teachers are being taken for a ride.

“After three years of guessing game with repeatedly vague promises, it was finally revealed that they only intend to give us so little. We will not take crumbs for a pay hike. This is not our work’s worth.”

According to the group’s computations, a 21% increase in Teacher I salaries would only yield a P25,112 monthly salary by 2022, a far cry from their demand of setting the entry-level salary of teachers at P30,000 immediately. If divided in three tranches, the DBM proposed pay hike would only amount to no more than P1,500 increase in the monthly salaries of Teacher I every year for three years. 

Martinez said, “the P1,500 monthly increase is like having no pay hike at all. It will do nothing to improve the dire conditions of our teachers as it will be quickly negated by income tax and inflation.”

The ACT official also said that the Department of Education’s (DepEd) message in the World Teachers Day (WTD) celebration further spoke of how the Duterte government really view hiking teachers’ salaries.

Sec. Leonor Briones’ message that “kung mayroong asenso, may responsibilidad.” The education secretary said that with the looming salary increase, teachers are expected to raise the quality of education.

“Hindi pa nga natatanggap at binabarat pa nga, naniningil na kaagad ng kapalit ang gobyerno. This only goes to show that the current government has no real empathy to the plight of our teachers. It seems that they view pay hike as a favor they will give which the teachers do not deserve,” Martinez blurted out.

“It is unfair for the government to demand teachers of quality education when its planned salary increase would not even afford teachers of quality life,” the teachers said.

Martinez explained that the low quality of education in the country is a product of many factors, mainly by the insufficient government budget allocation which causes big backlogs in classrooms, textbooks, teachers, education support staff, and teaching equipment and materials.