Teachers demand P30-K monthly pay
On World Teachers’ Day, sixth-grade students from Laong Laan Elementary School and their teachers stood in the school’s open grounds in a formation that read “30K,” symbolizing their call to increase teachers’ minimum wages to P30,000.
“This is the minimum demand of teachers nationwide: to increase the entry-level pay for teachers to a livable wage,” said Alberto Muros, Laong Laan faculty chair and member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) union.
“We’re not even asking that much. Our point is, if this government can double the pay for policemen, then why not teachers?” he said.
The President has repeatedly promised to raise teachers’ pay only to be tempered by Education Secretary Leonor Briones and the country’s economic managers.
According to Muros, they consider P30,000 to be the barest minimum livable wage for teachers based on the current cost of goods and services.
Stagnant pay in years
“Teachers’ pay have remain stagnant throughout the years even as prices skyrocket. What we are merely asking is for wages and expenses to meet halfway,” he said.
There is no shortage of narratives showcasing the sorry plight of the country’s teachers, who often have to borrow money to support themselves and their families but are still expected to give just as much to their students, said Ester Magaan, who teaches English and values education at Laong Laan.
While she herself already earns around P45,000 as a master teacher 2, she said her net take-home pay after paying her debts and living expenses often lands at around P9,000-P10,000.
“When your students do not come to school because of lack of money, what can you do but give them some allowance so they would continue to go to class?” Magaan said.
“This and then your responsibilities as a parent and as a teacher are inseparable,” she said.
Students like Lian Joyce Patrimonio and Mary Kaye Estroso were all too familiar with Magaan’s plight, whom they consider a favorite.
“She really goes out of her way to teach us and to help us when she can,” said Estroso. “She’s really like a mother.”
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