SOME 3,000 public school teachers in Negros Occidental are joining the nationwide protest action Wednesday, February 21, to demand higher pay.
The public school teachers from Bacolod City and neighboring localities will gather in front of the Rizal Elementary School at 2 p.m. Wednesday for the rally, which is part of the National Day of Protest.
Gualberto Dajao, president of Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Negros, said in a press conference Monday at the Negros Press Club building they are demanding the national government to raise the salary of teachers at the entry level.
He said the administration had recently increased the take-home pay of teachers by P25 per day to appease them due to the increase in salaries of policemen and soldiers.
However, it is not enough, he said. “It can’t even buy two bottles of mineral water.”
Dajao slammed the government for claiming that the teachers’ pay increase is not a priority.
The government had said there would be no salary increase for teachers until 2019, he added.
At present, teachers in the entry level have a take-home pay of about P5,000 from their meager gross salary of P20,000, he said, adding that some of the public teachers are debt-laden because their pay is not enough.
For the protest action on Wednesday, Dajao said teachers will bring bottles of mineral water which symbolize that their increase of P25 per day is not even enough to pay for it.
He added that the bottle of mineral water costs P15, and teachers need two bottles to relieve them for the day, and the P25 salary increase is not even enough.
Dajao said the government must raise the salaries of teachers to P29,000, which was the initial plan.
Also, the public school teachers demanded the release of their 2016 Performance-Based Bonus.
Dajao said all government agencies except the Department of Education have already received their bonus.
He pointed out that the Department of Budget and Management said the requirements were not submitted while field and schools division offices claimed otherwise.
Public school teachers are also demanding to abolish the Continuing Professional Development law which is a professional enhancement of teachers, Dajao added.
He said they are not against the teachers’ development, however, training and seminars paid by the teachers from their own pockets were not counted in their credentials as the service providers were not accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission.
“Even without the law, we can still (work on) the professional growth of the teachers,” he said.
Dajao said they are demanding to stop the implementation of the new tax reform law.
The implementation of the law had increased the excise tax on commodities and services, which also affect the public school teachers.
He said the collections from the excise tax will be allocated for the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
“But we all know that infrastructure projects in the government are prone to corruption,” he added.