MEMBERS of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Negros Island Region are seeking the assistance of congressmen in the region in their call for salary increase.

About 2,000 public school teachers in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, including district supervisors and principals, joined the nationally-coordinated protest Friday and held one at the Fountain of Justice to demand that President Rodrigo Duterte certify House Bill 56 authored by Act-Teachers Partylist as urgent bill.

They wore black t-shirts as a sign of mourning for the death of their hope for change and marched from the Fountain of Justice towards the public plaza.

Gualberto Dajao, president of ACT-NIR, said they are appealing to the President to certify the bill as urgent so that it will be tackled by Congress and will be included in the 2018 budget.

He said they are thankful to Bacolod City Representative Greg Gasataya for being a co-author of the bill. They plan to send letters to congressmen in Negros Island this month for support to their plight and be co-authors of the bill.

The teachers are seeking 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.

“We are hopeful that President Duterte will hear our demand like the P10,000 he had promised to us,” Dajao said.

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.

“We might sustain this action if the government will not listen to us,” Dajao said.