By Ellson Quismorio
Makabayan Bloc member, ACT-Teachers Rep. France Castro has filed a measure seeking substantial salary increases for both teaching and non-teaching personnel in the education sector.
House Bill (HB) no.5990 seeks to raise the minimum salaries of public school teachers to Salary Grade 15, teaching personnel in higher education to Salary Grade 16, and the minimum salaries of non-teaching personnel to at least P16,000.
“The struggle for a substantial salary increase for teachers that would provide decent lives for them and their families is far from over. Salaries of teachers have been left behind compared to those professions with similar qualifications and workload,” Castro said.
According to the Assistant Minority Leader, teachers are only given salary increases of a little over P6,000 spread across four years, or about P1,500 annually.
“This is a far cry from their calls for a substantial increase in salaries since these measly increases given in tranches will only be quickly eaten up…by excise taxes and inflation,” she pointed out.
Castro says she isn’t buying the excuse that the government does not have the funds needed for a substantial salary increase for teachers. “This is a matter of budget prioritization,” she said.
“President Duterte has promised teachers many times that he will substantially increase the salaries of government employees especially public school teachers. His promise to double the salaries of teachers fell on the list of failed promises of President Duterte,” lamented Castro.
“Even after the full implementation of the Salary Standardization Law V in 2023, the frontliners in education will still be no better off than the police and soldiers in uniform whose salaries swiftly increased by 50 percent to 100 percent by the Duterte administration.”
She argued that Republic Act (RA) 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law V does not address the inequality between the salaries of those in the low-to-middle-level salary grades. “Those under rank-and-file continue to be at the losing end,” she said.
“This bill provides a substantial salary increase for teachers and education sector personnel through salary upgrading, closing the gap between their salaries and the cost of living. It will also address the distortion created by the doubling of entry-level pay of military and uniformed personnel,” the lady lawmaker said.
Castro also filed HB no.5991, which increases the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance or PERA granted to government employees. The bill specifically raises the current PERA benefit from P2,000 to P5,000.
“PERA is a monthly compensation to all government employees, whether paid on salary, wages, or base pay basis across all agencies. This is considered a supplement to the basic compensation of government employees due to the rising cost of living. It is high time that the government increase this compensation as its last adjustment was 11 years ago,” she said.
“We urge the House leadership to immediately table these bills and swiftly pass them into law,” Castro concluded.
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