MANILA, Philippines – As the Department of Education (DepEd) opened a new school year on Monday, June 3, public school teachers reiterated their call for higher pay, saying many of the country's 800,000 teachers have been struggling to make ends meet.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio said the lack of decent pay for teachers continued to be the "biggest and most urgent shortage" in the education system. (READ: Classroom shortages greet teachers, students in opening of classes)
"This dire economic situation has caused great frustration among teachers, as evidenced by the persistent clamor for pay hike. Be it school opening, graduation period, or vacation time, teachers ache for just compensation," Basilio said in a statement Monday. (WATCH: Why do teachers teach?)
Under the 4th tranche of the Salary Standardization Law, entry-level public school teachers have a Salary Grade 11, which amounts to P20,754. This is followed by "Teacher 2" salaries worth P22,938.
"Teachers' working conditions are the students' learning conditions. No amount of sacrifice and effort on the part of the teachers will suffice to cover up the state's neglect of the education sector," Basilio said.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones echoed this in a press conference on Monday.
"The Department of Budget and Management is studying not only the salary of teachers but of the entire public service sector because it's hard for government to raise the salary of one sector and leave out the rest. That would widen the gap," Briones said. – Rappler.com