Manila Bulletin - P35,567 Pay For Teachers Proposed

Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV has proposed close to 100 percent monthly salary increase for the country’s more than 500,000 public school teachers from the current P18,549 to P35,567.

If the measure becomes a law, the government stands to spend over P18 billion a month or P219 billion a year for the public school teachers’ salaries.

The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) welcomed Trillanes’ proposal.

DepEd Communications Director Cristina Ganzon said: “We have about 500,000 teachers nationwide. We are supportive of any proposal that will improve our teachers.”

“Nakakataba naman ng puso para maiwasto na ang SSL3 (Salary Standardization Law, Part 3). Sana naman maging sensitive at decisive ang DBM (Department of Budget and Management) dito for appropriation,” said Benjie Valbuena, ACT vice president and concurrent Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) president.

The plan, through a Senate bill filed by Trillanes, must first get the approval of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before it is sent to President Benigno S. Aquino III for approval and signing into law.

Trillanes explained that his bill is in accordance with the 4th tranche of the implementation of the Salary Standardization Law scheduled this month.

At present, the basic salary of public school teachers is pegged at Grade 11 or about P18,549.00 a month, and the proposed monthly pay increase of P36,567 will move it to the Grade 20 bracket.

Trillanes wanted this increase “as a way of paying tribute to their important contribution in educating the youth and to provide them with decent pay commensurate to the sacrifices they make in educating the country’s youth.’’

“Public school teachers are looked upon and heralded as molders of our youth and prime movers of the education system. Yet, they are among the most underpaid professionals in the country,” Trillanes said.

“Thus, it is but imperative and necessary to upgrade the salary grade of our public school teachers in recognition of the significant and very critical role they play in our society,” he explained.

The Trillanes bill requires the DepEd to draw up a specific programmed budget to cover the cost of upgrading the salary levels of all teacher plantilla positions over the next three years.

This would enable the DBM to make the necessary adjustment to facilitate the smooth implementation of the salary hike, subject to the rules and regulations to be crafted by both the budget and education departments, he pointed out.

Any pay adjustment should be pursued based on the qualifications and length of service rendered by public school teachers and should not be prejudiced by any across the board adjustments, he said.

-Mario Casayuran