(Originally posted on November 10, 2010)
Public service need not be a vow of poverty.
Such is the claim by progressive groups in a recently concluded forum on wage hikes for public employees. ACT Teachers Party-List, one of its proponents, wants public school teachers to receive an entry pay of P24,887 or Salary Grade 15. At present, public educators start at Salary Grade 11, receiving only P15,649.
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio has filed House Bill 2142, which aims to increase a public school teacher’s pay from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15. This is to mitigate their diaspora to other countries because of financial limitations.
“Public school teachers are the epitome of underpaid and overworked heroes, to whom we entrust the future of our children and our nation,” declared Tinio.
Together with educators, health workers and government employees are also lobbying for salary adjustments. The Alliance of Health Workers (AWH) pushes for the implementation of Republic Act 9173, known as the Nursing Law of 2002, which includes a provision upgrading the pay grade of public sector nurses from Salary Grade 10 to 15. To this day, however, the provision remains unfunded.
AHW, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) have formed an alliance called Wage Fight! to push for a P6,000 increase in the minimum pay of public sector employees.
Tinio noted that the current entry-level salary (Salary Grade1) in government of P 7,575 is lower than the current minimum wage rate in NCR, which stands at P 404, or P 8,888 per month. “It is simply unacceptable that the government itself pays its lowest-ranking workers salaries that are below the government-mandated minimum wage. With inflation and the rising prices of basic goods, we should ensure that our public workers are compensated properly, here in our own country,” said Tinio. ###