COTABATO CITY - After almost six years of penitence, more than 1,000 teachers in the 23-year-old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have finally started receiving their back pay amounting to P146 million.
ARMM's Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Secretary Jamar Kulayan shared this "good news" in a text message to the Manila Bulletin after travelling to Lanao del Sur to personally hand-over the back pay of 224 teachers in the province.
Kulayan's message, however, did not indicate the amount given to the "rejoicing" Lanao del Sur teachers, but the recipients said the figure exceeded P30 million.
Based on the records of the DepEd-ARMM, P4.8 million worth of pack pay is available for 51 teachers in Basilan, with 11 of them from Lamitan town entitled to receive P2.2 million.
The same records showed that P13.8 million is allocated for 113 teachers in Sulu, and P18.6 million is set for distribution to 62 teachers in Tawi-Tawi.
The province of Maguidanao has the largest bulk of unpaid mentors at 431 teachers, who are entitled to receive P60 million back pay, according to the regional records.
Kulayan said the problem on unpaid salaries started about six years ago for reasons he did not disclose.
"This started in 2007," Kulayan said, hinting at faulty systems under previous administrations as possible causes.
There were teachers who promptly started teaching upon their appointments but their names took time to get included in the payroll, he said.
He said his office was following up with national authorities the back pay of many Kindergarten teachers in the ARMM still unpaid of their salaries.
"We have repeatedly called up our DepEd national office for the possible payment of salaries of Kindergarten teachers covering parts of 2011 and 2012," Kulayan said.
He said their national office had assured to release P33 million out of P65 million Kindergarten teachers in the ARMM are supposed to receive.