Teacher’s group won’t give up salary demand

Manila, Philippines --- Feeling sad and insulted, a group of public school teachers yesterday expressed dismay over government’s pronouncements that they should not expect salary increase in 2015. The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, said that “Malacañang’s recent response was bitter and insulting.” TDC National President Benjo Basas referred to a “palace spokesperson” who supposedly stated that “no amount of mass actions can make the salary increase possible.” “This statement saddens us, along with the almost 600,000 dedicated public school teachers of this country,” said Basas. “This is one proof of government’s insensitivity,” he added. Since May, TDC has been staging protest actions urging the government to grant their demand for across the board salary increase of P10,000. Basas said that while the TDC recognizes the argument that all government workers should be given a just pay, “it could not be used as an excuse for not granting the salary increase teachers so deserved.” Citing what they say as “historical, legal and moral bases” for their demand, Basas said that TDC will “pursue more protests until the government considers their proposals.” Earlier, House leaders and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) gave their statements on the teachers’ demand for salary increase. “Both the House leaders and the DBM said that there is no hope for a salary adjustment for this year and even next year citing the provisions of Salary Standardization Law-3 (SSL-3) which states that salaries of all the government employees should be adjusted if the Congress will act on pay increase demands,” Basas said. TDC reiterated that their demand for P10,000-pay increase “is not meant for this year, because we know that the current budget allocation is based on the legislation last year.” Basas, who is also Caloocan City teacher, added that the proposed increase “would be divided into three tranches.” Basas explained that the same bill was tackled in Congress in 2008 and was approved by the Senate but was junked by the House in favor of the SSL-3 which was enacted in 2009. “The only difference, according to the group is that the Senate Bill in 2008 was pushing for P9,000 not P10,000 across the board additional compensation for teachers and education workers in the government,” he added. TDC’s version of salary increase proposal, Basas said, is based on the EDCOM report in 1991 which recommended that teachers’ entry level position should be salary grade 16, which is now equivalent to almost P28,000 a month. “It seems that the government conveniently put the burden to us for all its failures especially in terms of resources,” he said. “Teacher is the only flexible factor in the education sector, thus all the failures of the government to respond to the needs of the sector would be filled out by poor teachers,” he added.