Teachers take wage-hike demand to the streets

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THOUSANDS of protesters on Monday gathered in Manila to demand higher salaries for teachers and employees.

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The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said at least 3, 000 public school teachers joined the rally dubbed as “National Day of Teachers’ Protest” to press for a P10,000 across-the-board increase for teachers and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Despite Budget Secretary [Florencio] Butch Abad’s statement that there will be no salary hike next year, we appeal to the President [Benigno Aquino 3rd] himself to consider our demand for a P10,000 pay increase,” Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairman, said.

Basas, a high school teacher in Caloocan City (Metro Manila), challenged the President to “make a clear statement and do not let Secretary Abad and [Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny] Coloma do the talking.”

“It seems that he has no guts to face this very urgent issue himself. Yet he serves as spokesman for others in some cases,” he said, apparently pertaining to Aquino’s defense of Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima.

The teachers are clamoring for the enactment of “Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education” bill, which seeks to provide a P10,000 across-the-board increase in the salaries of teachers and DepEd employees.

According to Basas, the bill is based on the salary upgrading bill that has become a perennial proposal in Congress since the early 1990s.

The salary upgrading bill seeks to raise the entry-level position of public school teachers under the salary standardization law from salary grade 11 to a higher status.

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