THE Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT Philippines) has called on the incoming Marcos administration to prioritize realizing the “failed” salary increase promise of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
“Nagtaasan na ang lahat ng bilihin at tataas pa muli ang mga ito sa susunod na araw, pero kinalimutan na talaga ni Pang. Duterte ang pangako niya sa mga guro. Nabudol na naman kami pero sana ay makinig ang susunod na administrasyon sa hirap na dinadanas ng mga guro at ang pangangailangang ng makabuluhang pagtaas sa kanilang sahod,” said Raymond Basilio, secretary general of ACT Philippines.
According to the group, the low salaries of teachers are not commensurate to their needs and that of their families and with the “indispensable” role of teachers in delivering education to millions of youth.
“Our teachers’ economic hardships stem from the very basic problem of low salaries. It’s well-known how teachers struggle to feed their families and shoulder the costs of education even before the pandemic hit. They have long suffered the effects of poor support from the government and rising prices of goods and commodities, which only worsened amid the health and socio-economic crises,” he said.
Among President Duterte’s campaign promises was to double teachers’ salaries, which he repeated several times after being elected to office.
However, only cops and soldiers’ pay were doubled to at least P29,668, while teachers were only given around P1,500 annual increase through the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) V.
On the other hand, nurses received a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court in 2019, which raised their entry-level pay to salary grade 15 – coming to a monthly P33,575 in 2021.
These effectively left teachers behind as they only received P23,877 in salaries per month in 2021.
“With DepEd’s [Department of Education] earlier acknowledgment that teachers, in fact, struggle financially, we urge them to join us in demanding the long-overdue pay hike for nearly a million of its employees. Teachers deserve decent pay. We call on the government to finally upgrade teachers’ salaries to salary grade 15,” Basilio pressed.