The Palace, not budget constraints, is blocking the salary increase for teachers, a House leader said on Monday.
House Deputy Minority Leader Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list reacted to statements by administration lawmakers Roman Romulo of Pasig City and Kimi Cojuangco of Pangasinan that the government does not have enough budget for the salary of teachers since the Salary Standardization Law would force the government to hike the salaries of other government employees.
“The salaries much be increased because that would impact the teachers’ benefits and retirement [pension]. It is not true that the government doesn’t have money for this. We have seen the DAP. Our unused funds reached P180 billion. We see this salary increase for teachers costing P60 billion. It’s Malacañang who is blocking this increase,” Tinio, one of the authors of House Bill 245 which increases teachers’ monthly minimum salary to P25,000, told reporters in a chance interview.
The DAP is the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the Aquino administration wherein President Benigno Aquino 3rd realigns government savings and windfall state revenues to priority programs of the administration and lawmakers.
“The government can afford the increase. Besides, House Bill 245 has 115 co-authors here in Congress. A lot of us here are already convinced and the same rings true in the Senate,” Tinio argued.
A duly licensed professional teacher occupying the entry-level position of Teacher 1 earns P18,549 a month—an amount substantially less than a high school graduate who enters the Philippine Military Academy as a cadet and has a monthly salary of P21,709 per month.
“If we don’t give the increase now, then when will it be granted? The budget call for 2015 is ongoing. If the increase does not make it to the proposed 2015 budget, our teachers’ salaries will stay the same,” Tinio added.
Other authors of House Bill 245 are Reps. Raul Del Mar of Cebu City, Eric Olivarez of Parañaque City, Gerald Anthony Gullas, Jr. of Cebu, Mark Llandro Mendoza of Batangas, Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro, Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City, Angelina Tan of Quezon and Francisco Ashley Acedillo of Magdalo party-list.
Based on the Article 14 Section 5 of the Philippine Constitution, the government must allot the highest budgetary allocation to education and ensure that salaries for the teachers must give “satisfaction and fulfillment” to them.
Furthermore, Republic Act 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers mandates that the teachers’ salary must be able to provide reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families.