In Bacolod City, teachers stage rally ahead of SONA 2018
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Three days before President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA), public school teachers in Bacolod City and neighboring localities trooped to the Fountain of Justice on Friday afternoon, July 20, to demand higher salaries. (READ: LIST: SONA 2018 activities, protests)
Clad in black shirts, teachers held streamers bearing messages like, "Yes to salary increase now," "salary increase sa SONA," "increase salary of teachers now!" and "no to tax reform law."
Gualberto Dajao, president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Negros, said they held the protest ahead of the SONA as they hope their concerns will reach Duterte. (READ: No budget for teachers' salary hike in 2018 – Diokno)
"If President Duterte can increase the salaries of the uniformed personnel in 2018, why can't he justly do the same for the education sector and whole public sector for that matter?" Dajao said.
He emphasized that teachers were "deprived of a decent salary" and are also "burdened by an oppressive tax reform."
The teachers also demand to abolish the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law as it's an additional burden to them. (READ: 10 things to expect at Duterte's SONA 2018)
"The effect of TRAIN Law is devastating to the life of our teachers and government employees. Everyday prices of basic goods and services rise to the unreachable level. While higher income government employees and officials benefited the new tax reform law, lower income and unemployed Filipinos are now suffering from the 5.2% inflation rate," Dajao said.
He pointed out that teachers are supposed to be inside the classrooms with the school children. "However, the dire economic situation forces the teachers to go out on the streets to show collective action and be heard." (READ: StoryOfTheNation: What do you want to hear in SONA 2018?)
He added: "Our leaders dream of quality education without improving the plight of the teachers, a stupidity that they must realize. Who actually carry the tasks of educating the Filipino children? Aren't our teachers? With our teachers languishing in poverty, could they effectively deliver a quality education?" – Rappler.com