Lawmakers move for higher pay for teachers

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Sunday, December 11, 2011


SENATOR Ramon Revilla Jr. has filed a bill seeking to raise public school teachers' salaries to keep them from leaving the country.

If the bill is passed into law, an entry-level public school teacher will be paid at salary grade 15 instead of the current salary grade of
10. According to the Civil Service Commission website, that could mean a salary of P25,438 a month instead of the P17,602 under salary grade 10.

Revilla said teachers are underpaid even if the Constitution requires government to put the "highest budgetary priority" to education and to "ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration."

He said the existing salary for an entry-level teacher is around P15,649, far below the estimated P21,054 family living wage in the National Capital Region.

The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers requires salaries that "compare favorably" with other jobs requiring the same qualifications. Pay for teachers should also be enough to give teachers "a reasonable standard of life."

"No wonder most of the public school teachers opt to leave the country and earn dollars in menial jobs (rather) than the dignified pedagogical nature that they once held in the country," he said.

"The government should afford these unsung heroes their long-delayed pay increase and protect not only the country's present interests through these teachers but also the better future that we are all aiming for," he said.

The increase, if approved, will cover all public school teachers "including those in technical and vocational schools and state universities and colleges."

Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio has filed his own version of bill at the House of Representatives. The congressman said teachers make less than a Philippine Military Academy cadet, who gets P21,709 a month.

Teachers' salaries are also lower than many call center and business process outsourcing workers. "The salary for call center employment, which requires neither formal education nor bachelor's degree, ranges from P12,500 to 20,000 a month," he said.

He said low pay has "obviously" pushed local teachers to seek employment abroad, where schools pay them the equivalent of P1.5 million to P2.5 million a year. Public school teachers in the country, in contrast, make only P203,437 a year.

Cebu City Representative Rachel Del Mar has also filed a bill to raise the salary grade of teachers. She wants the salary grade raised to 20, or P37,376 a month according to the salary schedule on the CSC website. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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