MANILA, Philippines – A bill filed in the House of Representatives responds to teachers’ long-standing appeal to increase their wages and benefits.
House Bill No. 195 seeks to provide an across-the-board increase of salary and other benefits for public school teachers to attract highly-qualified people to work in government schools.
“The responsibility of molding a child to become a productive Filipino citizen lies heavily in the hands of a teacher. This is the delicate duty that teachers have committed in their line of work being intimately connected with building the nation’s future. Despite this, however, existing laws are still unresponsive to their plight of enduring a measly salary as compensation for their work,” bill author and Deputy House Speaker Romero “Miro” Quimbo said in a statement Sunday, July 31.
“Even with the enactment of Republic Act No. 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, the social and economic status, as well as the living and working conditions of teachers, have remained the same, if not worsened,” he added.
Acknowledging the state’s duty to prioritize budget allocation in education, the measure will cover all teaching personnel in all public schools in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels including technical and vocational schools.
The salary will be increased by P15,000 per month, regardless of their employment status and position, and would be based on the existing policies of the Department of Education on merit selection and promotion. Teachers hired for the first time will also be exempted from income tax for one year.
Aside from these, the bill also calls for the creation of pension fund for teachers who have been in service for 15 years.
About 1.6 million government workers lost their hopes for a salary increase after Congress failed to pass the Salary Standardization Law (IV) during the 16th Congress.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed their versions of the proposal on third reading but they failed to agree on adjusting the pension rates of retired military and uniformed personnel to the salary increases of those still active in the service.
President Benigno Aquino III, however, issued an executive order implementing the first 4 tranches of salary increase as detailed in the bill.
Senator Franklin Drilon and Quezon City 4th District Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr, the leaders of the previous Congress, re-filed the measure in the 17th Congress.
President Rodrigo Duterte, for his part, earlier announced that he will increase the salary of teachers after implementing an incremental increase for the military.
This is despite budget secretary Benjamin Diokno’s warning that it will be difficult to increase the military’s pay given other financial concerns with the huge government debt on military pension fund included. – Rappler.com