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The true abandonment (Philippine Daily Inquirer 4 June 2014 editorial)

4 June 2014 No Comment

The true abandonment

The Philippine Daily Inquirer 4 June 2014 Editorial

(Read full editorial here: http://opinion.inquirer.net/75280/the-true-abandonment)

‘It seemed that in the DepEd’s view, taking to the streets to call for an increase in pay was tantamount to neglecting the millions of schoolchildren nationwide.  “Let us draw the line at abandoning our children,” it intoned.  “As educators and civil servants, let us always keep the interests of our learners in mind.”

‘That is an unfortunate, if not insulting, statement.  Teachers, especially the public-school variety, are among the most patient, docile people around.  They toil in the most parsimonious conditions, their classrooms, school supplies and general campus facilities the perennial poor relations of vastly better-funded private schools.  They are obliged to manage classes whose volumes are beyond the viable norm, yet they soldier on.  During elections they do double-duty as vote-counters—a perilous task that puts them in the crosshairs of violent competition among political factions—and even have to wait to be compensated for it.

‘And, since 2009, their entry-level pay has been pegged at P18,549—lower even than what fresh graduates initially get in the call-center industry.  That last salary adjustment five years ago raised the teachers’ pay by P6,523, but here’s the cruel catch: It wasn’t given in one go, but in four tranches over four years, from 2009 to 2012.  The adjustment mandated by law as due the public school teachers took years to implement, and the paltry sum still had to be broken down into nearly negligible installments.

‘Which other profession is subjected to indignities like this?  Perhaps other government employees endure the same excruciatingly slow improvements in work benefits, but as opposed to, say, clerks in a mayor’s office, teachers surely deserve greater attention because of the unique work they do:  Their wellbeing translates directly to the wellbeing of the children under their care.  They can’t teach kids properly without proper training on their own, or adequate school facilities, or enough remuneration to sustain them in mind and body.  Certainly they can’t be expected to be motivated to do their jobs well, never mind excel, if their pay remains shockingly low.

How much wage increase are the teachers seeking this time? From P18,549 to P25,000.  Is that too high a figure for such a consequential job as teaching the hope of the motherland? The 1991 Congressional Commission on Education pegged the minimum monthly salary that teachers should be receiving at even a higher figure—P28,000.

‘Malacañang’s response to the teachers’ petition for a pay increase is quite hard to take.  “There was no fund identified as source of the salary hike they are waiting for,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.  The same administration that coughed up billions of pesos under a curious mechanism called the Disbursement Acceleration Program now pleads penury when it comes to sparing a few million pesos for the welfare of some 550,000 hard-up public school teachers across the country.’

 

May pera sa pork at korupsyon, pero wala sa edukasyon!

Increase salaries of public school teachers and non-teaching personnel!  P25,000 minimum monthly salary for teachers, P15,000 for non-teaching personnel!

ENACT HOUSE BILL 245 NOW!

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