By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
While the reported signing of the salary increase for government workers through the Salary Standardization Law (SSL)-V is a welcome development especially to the Department of Education (DepEd), teachers groups on Thursday expressed mixed reactions on the latest pay scheme.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), in a statement, said that while the group’s members are “thankful” for the increase in the salaries of government workers, they are also dismayed that the amount was “far from what we expected” which is P10, 000 across-the-board hike for teachers and other personnel of the DepEd.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines denounced the SSL-V which will “give paltry increases” to civilian government employees until 2023. The teachers’ federation added that the passage of such law “betrays not only his promise to over 800,000 public school teachers but also a betrayal of the interest of the nation.”
DepEd, on the other hand, welcomed the inclusion of the salary increase for teaching and non-teaching employees of the department effective January 2020 with the reported signing of the SSL-V which will further “motivate” its personnel.
TDC National Chairperson Basas said that while the group “recognizes” this increase in the salaries of government workers which include teachers, the SSL-V remains a disappointing outcome. “If the president just adopted the SSL V submitted by Congress, this is far from what we expected [because] he promised a P10, 000 hike for teachers over and above the SSL when he decided to run for office in 2015, we waited for three years.”
Basas said the SSL V is a “generic law” which “does not recognize the specific worth of our teachers and the recommended remuneration scheme” as provided by the 53-year old Magna Carta for Teachers and even the State principle set by our Constitution. “If it is over, we just appeal for a dialogue with him,” he added.
Earlier, TDC urged the President to “veto” some of the provisions of the SSL-V to “consider a substantial salary hike for our teachers.”
Meanwhile, ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio noted that the teachers do not deserve the pay hike as cited in the SSL-V. “Teachers play a key role in national development as frontliners in the delivery of education—a social service and an essential element in achieving peace and progress in the country,” he said. “The government’s continued neglect of our welfare reflects on their same disregard of the youth’s right to quality education and our future as a nation,” he added.
Basilio furthered that teachers’ “meager salaries remain to be one of the biggest roadblock in the delivery of quality education” – adding that public school teachers “have hoped that the fulfillment of President Duterte’s promise will finally begin to address the crisis that is teachers’ overworked and underpaid status.”
ACT lamented that under Duterte, the teachers reached “an all-time low” as they have been left behind by nurses and uniformed personnel whose entry-level pay in 2020 amounts to about Php30,000 while teachers’ minimum salary only comes to Php22,316 in the same year. “Even after four years, teachers will still not be at par with other professionals as their pay will only come to Php27,000,” Basilio said.
Basilio also cited that Duterte’s SSL is the “second lowest salary adjustment for teachers” at 30% since government pay was standardized in 1989, only exceeding Aquino’s which the group claims is still the worst SSL to date. The President, he added, “disappointingly has nothing to show for all his big talks patronizing teachers and honoring his mother [and] the pay hike he enacted is a concrete manifestation of his true regard, or lack thereof, for teachers and for quality education.”
In the coming weeks, ACT vowed to hold further and intensified actions as they continue to “demand for decent pay and better services to the people.”
For the DepEd, the salary increase for both teaching and non-teaching personnel is a welcome development this 2020.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla told the Manila Bulletin that the agency has yet to receive the signed copy of the signed SSL-V. “We will share the table/matrix of salary increases for the next four years (FYs 2020 to 2023) when we get the official copy of the SSL5,” she mentioned in a Facebook post.
Following the signing of the 2020 budget on Monday, January 6, DepEd also welcomed salary increase for teaching and non-teaching employees effective this month. “This is an added motivation for almost a million personnel of the Department,” Sevilla said.
Sevilla explained that the details of the salary increase will be specified in the SSL-5. The approved SSL5, she added, will identify “specific increments per position/salary grade level, which will be retroactive” or computed since January 2020.
While DepEd has yet to receive the official copy of the General Appropriations Act (GAA 2020), Sevilla said that through coordination with Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Education Department – without its attached agencies – will have total GAA 2020 of P520.282 billion.
Along with its five (5) attached agencies which include National Book Development Board (NBDB), National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT), the National Museum, Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), and the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council, Sevilla said that DepEd’s budget for 2020 amounts to P521.351 billion.