With runaway inflation at 5.4% and a new round of bigtime oil price hike, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines called on the incoming administration to prioritize realizing the failed salary increase promise of Pres.Duterte.
“Nagtaasan na ang lahat ng bilihin at tataas pa muli ang mga ito sa susunod na araw, pero kinalimutan na talaga ni Pang.Duterte ang pangako nya sa mga guro. Nabudol na naman kami pero sana ay makinig ang susunod na administrasyon sa hirap na dinadanas ng mga guro at ang pangangailangang ng makabuluhang pagtaas sa kanilang sahod,” said Raymond Basilio, secretary general of ACT Philippines.
“The low salaries of teachers are not commensurate to their needs and that of their families and to the indispensable role of teachers in delivering education to millions of youth. Our teachers’ economic hardships stem from the very basic problem of low salaries. It’s well-known how teachers struggle to feed their families and shoulder the costs of education even before the pandemic hit. They have long suffered the effects of poor support from the government and rising prices of goods and commodities, which only worsened amid the health and socio-economic crises,” he said.
“What we cannot understand is why is the Duterte administration hellbent on letting us teachers and consumers suffer by not suspending the excise tax on oil? Parang ang linya ng Malacanang ngayon ay mamatay na kayong lahat basta makakolekta kami ng buwis,” opined Basilio.
Among President Duterte’s campaign promises were to double teachers’ salaries, which he repeated several times after being elected in office. However, only cops and soldiers’ pay were doubled to at least Php29,668 while teachers were only given around Php1,500 annual increase through the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) V. Nurses, on the other hand, received a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court in 2019 which raised their entry-level pay to salary grade 15—coming to a monthly Php 33,575 in 2021. These effectively left teachers behind as they only receive Php23,877 in salaries per month in 2021.
“With DepEd’s earlier acknowledgment that teachers in fact struggle financially, we urge them to join us in demanding the long overdue pay hike for nearly a million of its employees. Teachers deserve decent pay. We call on the government to finally upgrade teachers’ salaries to salary grade 15,” Basilio pressed.