On March 5, 2015, Rep. Antonio Tinio filed House Bill 5533, entitled An Act Lowering the Optional Retirement Age of Public School Teachers from Sixty (60) Years Old to Fifty-Five (55) Years Old.
“Earlier retirement is one of the demands resoundingly voiced during formal and informal consultations with public school teachers conducted by this Representation. Teachers protest that, with the hazards and level of stress accompanying their duties, compulsory retirement at the late stage of 65 years old will not allow them to fully enjoy their retirement years. Teachers usually leave the profession not with satisfied smiles but assaulted by various illnesses; whatever retirement benefits they receive will be spent not for their rest or their own businesses but solely for medical bills.
“Teaching in our country’s public schools is indeed a challenging occupation, with duties claiming much from teachers not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. The Philippines ranks among the countries with the most dismal statistics descriptive of teachers’ working conditions, with average pupil-teacher ratios from 31 students (primary level) to 39 students to each teacher (secondary level), and average class sizes of 42.4 (primary) and 43.7 (secondary). (UNESCO, 2012) Officially, instruction time is six hours each day, but actually goes up to more than eight including advisory loads. Teachers work in 40 out 54 weeks per year, but they have duties during vacation months, and beyond the classroom and even the school premises.
“Indeed, when compared to figures worldwide, it is harder to be a public school teacher in the Philippines than in most countries. However, teachers retire five years later in the Philippines than in most countries. Retirement age is 60 in most North American, European, and Asian countries.
“Respect and humane consideration demand that a person of 55 years—a few years shy of being a senior citizen—should not be required to perform the arduous functions expected of a public school teacher in the Philippines. At such stage of their lives, public school teachers should at least be given the choice if they wish to rest from the profession and enjoy more good and healthy years ahead.”
(From the Explanatory Note)
Rep. Tinio also chairs the Technical Working Committee that is currently finalizing other proposed legislation for lowered mandatory and optional retirement ages.