Teachers assailed yesterday what they described as a “measly” salary increase being proposed by the Aquino administration for government workers next year.
Teachers’ groups Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) both expressed dismay over the announcement of President Aquino, pushing for the passage of the salary hike plan for government employees, including both teaching and non-teaching personnel at the Department of Education (DepEd), in Congress.
ACT Teachers Party-list, in a statement, said government employees occupying low- and middle-level positions are the “biggest losers” under the Aquino administration’s proposal for salary increases while those occupying top posts already enjoying high pay, including the President, are “the most favored.”
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said that a “measly” P2,205-increase in four years is given to a Teacher I under the Malacañang proposal embodied in House Bill 6268 for the “Salary Standardization Law of 2015” (SSL 2015). “This increase amounts to a mere P24 in additional finances per day for the ordinary public school teacher,” he said.
Tinio added that the current P18,549 monthly salaries for entry-level teachers or Teacher I will be raised to P19,077 in 2016, P19,620 in 2017, P20,179 in 2018, and P20,754 in 2019. “After three years without a pay hike, this amounts to a mere 11.89 percent increase over the next four years for those who comprise over one third of the government bureaucracy,” he lamented. “This paltry hike will not even counter the decline in the real value of money caused by inflation, which was 3 to 4 percent in 2013-2015, probably much higher in 2016-2019,” he added.
Those under the sub-professional level, Tinio explained, will be “granted so-called increases” ranging from 22.98 percent (Salary Grade 1, the lowest-paid position in government) to 11.99 percent (Salary Grade 9) in four years. The monthly pay of a Head Teacher II will increase by 22.68 percent (Salary Grade 15).
Tinio said public school teachers, nurses, and rank-and-file employees will receive the lowest share of increase under Aquino’s SSL 2015, ranging from 11 percent to 22 percent over the next four years. On the other hand, for executive-level positions, pay increases are 76.96 percent (Salary Grade 25) up to a whopping 233.12 percent (for Salary Grade 33, President of the Philippines).
Aside from salary hike, the Aquino administration will also implement a mid-year bonus equivalent to a month’s salary and a Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) equivalent to the salary for one up to two months.
“Nevertheless, apart from our opposition to the general framework of PBB, it is clear that when it comes to basic pay, government employees in the lowest up to the middle-level positions are disadvantaged while those occupying higher positions are greatly favored under the proposed SSL 2015 of President Aquino,” he added.
While the TDC, a 30,000-strong group, welcomed Malacañang’s pronouncement and assurance that there will be an increase in the salaries of teachers and government employees next year the group expressed dismay over the “meager” increase.
It is already late, yet the Aquino administration scrimps on the increase, said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas in a statement. But we must be thankful that Malacañang has broken its silence on salary increase for teachers and other government workers next year. But we are dismayed by the proposal it is pushing Congress to pass, he added.
TDC said that the government should consider rectifying the existing compensation for public school teachers. “This is the best time to rectify the erroneous compensation scheme for teachers through the enactment of salary upgrading bills authored by Senators Cayetano, Bam Aquino, TG Guingona, which seeks for a P10,000 additional compensation for teachers – to be given in 3 tranches – over and above the salary standardization law,” Basas noted.
Basas added that the past and present salary laws classified teachers as among the “lowest paid government professionals.”
PROTESTS TO CONTINUE
Unsatisfied teachers vowed to continue to protest against the Aquino administration and its proposed salary hike for teachers.
ACT said that the Aquino’s proposal for salary increase next year “proves yet again that government will never give decent pay to ordinary teachers and employees on a silver platter.” To be led by ACT, a “National Day of Protest” is set today, Wednesday to be attended teachers and government employees. “We have to fight for it [decent salary increase]… now is the time for us to act collectively and in even greater numbers,” the group stressed.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives urged President Aquino to certify as urgent the proposed “Salary Standardization Law of 2015” as it is ready to pass the pro-workers measure on second and third reading today, Nov. 11.
Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II said the Lower Chamber could pass House Bill 6268 today as soon as they receive the presidential certification.
He said the House Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Davao Rep. Isidro T. Ungab, is set to pass the measure this morning and endorse it for the plenary debates in the afternoon.
“Possibly ma-out na sa committee tomorrow (Nov. 11). The speaker suggested that ipacertify na as urgent. If ma-approve tomorrow and ma-receive ang certification tomorrow and by a stroke of luck tomorrow afternoon, don’t be surprised that we could put it to vote on second and third reading,” Gonzales told reporters during weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan forum.
House Bill 6268 was filed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Gonzales, and Ungab.
Ungab said their bill faces smooth sailing “because I’m sure everyone supports the proposal.” (With a report from Charissa M. Luci)