ABOUT 3,000 public school teachers in Bacolod City are expected to join the nationally-coordinated protest at the Fountain of Justice at 4 p.m. Friday, February 3, to call for a salary increase.

Gualberto Dajao, president of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Negros Island Region, said in a press conference Thursday that they are declaring February 3 as the National Day of Protest.

He said they will demand that President Rodrigo Duterte certify House Bill 56 authored by Act-Teachers Partylist as urgent bill.

The measure seeks an increase from P19,000 to P25,000 as starting salary for Teacher I; P27,000 for higher education teaching personnel; P16,000 for starting salary of non-teaching and other government employees; and P5,000 for Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (Pera).

Dajao said they will wear black T-shirt to mourn the death of their hope for change to come as they march from the Fountain of Justice toward the public plaza.

He added that their counterparts in the National Capital Region will march toward Malacañang.

Last year, the Aquino administration implemented an increase of P24 a day in the salaries of low-level teachers and government employees while top-level positions enjoyed an enormous increase, he noted.

“The politicians and technocrats’ dream of quality education without improving the plight of the teachers is a stupidity that must be realized,” Dajao added.

“Who actually carry the tasks of educating the Filipino children?” he asked.

Dajao said the past administration just simply denied teachers and government employees a decent life.

He said compared to teachers from other countries, Filipino teachers receive the lowest salary.

South Korean teachers receive from P59,000 to P120,000 a month, while teachers in Malaysia receive between P70,000 and P90,000. Teachers in Japan receive from P94,000 to 235,000.

Filipino teachers, on the other hand, just receive between P19,000 and P22,000, not to mention how much is left after mandatory deduction and taxes, Dajao said.

When President Duterte campaigned for the presidency, Dajao said he promised change to the Filipino people, adding that one of those promises is to increase salaries of teachers and government employees.

“However, this administration now is just implementing the second tranche of Executive Order 201, Series of 2016, the scheme issued by the Aquino administration, giving a little more than P24 a day increase to most classroom teachers and government employees,” he added.

“With this, is there a change coming which the president had promised?” Dajao again asked.

He added that the government does not care for the welfare of the teachers, and does not care for the education of the children and their future.