By Mario Casayuran
Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ Angara hailed the announcement of President Duterte, increasing the salary of public school teachers across the country, and expressed hope that the pay adjustment would be equivalent or close to the rate he has been pushing for since 2016.
Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, said he was happy that he and the Chief Executive were on the same page in terms of providing public school teachers a salary that would be commensurate to their value to Philippine society.
“Our teachers may have one of the hardest jobs with the smallest monetary reward, thus giving them a reasonable raise would help them feel more appreciated and understand why they wanted the job in the first place,” he explained.
President Duterte renewed his promise last Thursday to increase the take-home pay of public school teachers, saying it could finally happen in 2019.
He, however, did not mention how much the increase would be but said it would definitely be on top of the fourth and last tranche of salary increases for all government workers that will be implemented this year.
Last year, the President also vowed to raise the salary of teachers after he doubled the basic pay of the military and the police.
Angara, a member of the Senate majority bloc, pointed out that he has been pushing for teachers’ salary hike since he was a member of the House of Representatives representing the lone district of Aurora province.
In June 2016, Angara filed Senate Bill 135 which sought to adjust the minimum salary grade level of teachers from Salary Grade 11 to 19 or double their current monthly base pay of P20,179 to P42,099.
Angara said he believed that the pay increase would attract more qualified and competent educators to teach in public schools.
“Our teachers are considered to be the heart of the educational system. The government needs to give priority to their welfare and interests,” Angara pointed out.
“Definitely, this would lead to an improvement in the quality of education in our public school system,’’ he added.
Angara, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance tasked to sponsor the 2019 budget of the Commission on Higher Education and state colleges and universities (SUCs), also pushed for the allocation of P2.9 billion to fund the job promotion of faculty members of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) across the country.
Such funding aims to implement National Budget Circular (NBC) 461, a system of evaluation and promotion for SUC faculty members that was supposed to be given in full in 2017.
No budget, however, has been allocated for NBC 461 Cycle 7 (2013-2016) because of the moratorium imposed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Funding for SUC faculty promotion was again excluded in the P3.757-trillion proposed budget the DBM submitted to Congress for consideration.
Around 35,000 faculty members stand to benefit from the funding of NBC 461.