August 4, 2010
ACT Teachers Party-List today filed a bill in the House of Representatives mandating an increase in teachers’ salaries. House Bill 2142, “The Public School Teachers’ Salary Upgrading Act,” raises the minimum salary grade level of public school teachers from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15.
Currently, the entry-level pay for public school teachers is P15,649 per month. The bill will raise their minimum pay to P24,887 per month. Public school teachers in elementary and secondary schools, including those in vocational and technical schools and state universities and colleges, whether nationally or locally funded, are covered by the bill.
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio joined some 30 members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers led by their Secretary-General Francisca Castro as they held a short program outside the main gate of the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City. They then proceeded to the House of Representatives, where Tinio filed the bill. He noted that this is the first bill he authored as a new member of Congress. “As stated in our party platform and as we said throughout the election campaign period, upgrading of teachers’ salaries is our number one priority.”
Tinio cited two reasons for introducing the bill. “First of all, current teachers’ pay does not ensure a decent standard of living for themselves and their families. Secondly, their pay doesn’t compare favorably with those in similarly-qualified occupations.”
He noted that the family living wage in the National Capital Region, estimated at P957 per day or more than P21,054 per month, is in sharp contrast with the P15,649 monthly salary of a Teacher I. “In order to cope with this ‘living salary gap,’ teachers resort to borrowing and are heavily indebted to government financial institutions such as the GSIS, private lending institutions, or loan sharks.”
Furthermore, he explained that government pays more to uniformed personnel than to its teachers. “A duly licensed professional teacher occupying the entry-level position of Teacher I, with a monthly salary of P15,649, earns substantially less than a high school graduate who enters the Philippine Military Academy as a cadet, with a monthly salary of P21,709 per month.”
He also pointed out that in the private sector, call center agents are typically better-paid than public school teachers. “The salary for call center employment, which requires neither formal education nor bachelor’s degree, ranges from P12,500 to P20,000 a month. It’s no wonder we’re seeing some of our best teachers leaving the country to work abroad, whether as teacher or even as domestic helpers, nannies, or caregivers.”
Tinio expressed confidence that the bill will enjoy widespread support among teachers. “This is important because mass mobilization of teachers at the grassroots level is key to gaining majority support in Congress for the passage of this bill into law. We will meet with teachers all over the country to ensure that they take part in this campaign.”#