MILITANT teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Monday welcomed the proposed bill by Sen. Antonio Trillanes that aims to raise the salary of public school teachers from P18,549 to P35, 567 a month, but stressed that the proposed bill is long “overdue.”
“As stated in Article XIV, Section 5 of the Philippine Constitution, the State “shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment,” France Castro, the group’s secretary general, said.
“In addition, Republic Act 4670, otherwise known as The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, mandates that the salaries of public school teachers shall compare favorably with those paid in other occupations requiring or similar qualification, trainings and abilities. Further, the Magna Carta states that the salary [teachers receive]must insure a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families,” Castro added.
Castro said the current pay scheme of government fails to fulfill these criteria. Salaries of public school teachers do not compare favorably with other occupations in government.
A duly licensed professional teacher occupying the entry-level position of Teacher I earns P18,549 a month (Salary Grade 11, Step 1), substantially less than a high school graduate who enters the Philippine Military Academy as a cadet who has a monthly salary of P21,709 a month.
“The salaries of public school teachers are currently unable to “insure a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families.” According to the study of IBON Foundation, the Family Living Wage (FLW) in the National Capital Region, estimated at P1,054 a day or more than P21,054 a month, which means that many teachers resort to borrowing from government financial institutions such as the Government Service Insurance System, private lending institutions, or loan sharks in order to cope with this “living salary gap,” Castro added.