MILITANT teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Saturday hit Education Secretary Leonor Briones for siding with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in denying teachers local allowances and additional school supplies.
“Secretary Briones’ response letter dated June 20, 2017 to ACT proves that she has no heart for the teacher’s rights and welfare. She reiterated her insensitive statement that teachers are well compensated and shall not receive local allowances and additional chalk/teaching supplies allowances,” Benjamin Valbuena, the group’s national chairperson, said.
The group claimed the DepEd chief has defended the imposition of the DepEd-DBM-DILG Joint Circular No. 1 Series of 2017 that prohibits the use of Special Education Fund for teachers’ local allowance. Teachers are also asking for an increase in chalk/teaching supplies allowance from P2,500 to P5,000.
“Instead of protecting our rights and welfare, the Secretary of Education is the first to deny these to us eventually contributing to the teachers’ poor economic situation and sacrifices under the rotting K-to-12 education system. Given the secretary’s inutility, the teachers and education sector as a whole will eventually continue the intensifying call for just and decent pay and benefits,” Valbuena said.
According to Valbuena, public school teachers are actually underpaid and receive meager salary. Based on the computation presented by Department of Education (DepEd), entry level teachers enjoy an aggregated monthly compensation of P24,399.40. This includes basic pay, personal economic relief allowance and the subsidy for personnel benefit contributions like Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
“Contrary to DepEd’s computation, teachers who are working more than six hours in school pay taxes, contributions to GSIS, Pag-IBIG [Home Mutual Development Fund] and PhilHealth have a maximum take home pay of P16,000. The said amount is far from the amount suggested by IBON Foundation and daily cost of living in the National Capital Region and nearby regions,” he said.
“The family living wage in the National Capital Region, is estimated at P1,119 per day or more than P33,570 per month to sustain a family with six members. This situation will push teachers to borrow from government financial institutions, or even to unregistered loan sharks in order to cope with this living salary gap,” Valbuena added.
The teacher’s group said that adding to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s deceptive computation, Briones also computed teachers’ monthly salary by adding the mid-year bonus, year-end bonus, clothing allowance, productivity enhancement incentive and cash gifts to teachers’ annual pay divided into 12 months. The computation indicates those with rank of Teacher 1 receives P27,000 per month as entry level pay.
“While it is true that teachers receive mid-year bonus, year-end bonus, clothing allowance, productivity enhancement incentive and cash gifts, it is the government’s responsibility to give such. These benefits shall not be included in computing the monthly salary of teachers because these benefits are temporary and excluded in the computation for retirement pension of teachers,” he said.