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Teachers, gov’t workers press pay hike in rally today

More than 3,000 public school teachers and other government workers will hold a rally today, the eve of World Teachers’ Day on Oct. 5, to protest President Duterte’s “deafening silence” over the  substantial salary increase he had promised them.

The proposed 2020 national budget allots P32 billion to cover the pay raise of all government workers, but the teachers said this would hardly cover the P30,000 entry-level salary they have long demanded.

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Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the country’s largest teachers’ union, thousands of protesters were expected to march on Mendiola in Manila today. Protesters were also mobilized in other regions of the country.

“Hundreds of teachers have been participating in building a human ‘30K’ formation in their schools,” said ACT national chair Joselyn Martinez. “This indicates a growing unity and steadfastness among teachers to demand decent pay.”

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Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, House ways and means committee chair, said Mr. Duterte would spend P110 billion over the next three years—including the P32 billion in the 2020 budget—on government workers’ pay. But details on the allocation remained vague.

ACT leaders argued that should the 2020 allocation be evenly distributed among the 1.5 million public sector workers, it would amount to a mere P49 daily raise.

Entry-level teachers, who comprise the majority of the country’s 800,000 public school teachers, receive a monthly salary of P20,754 that several economists, including Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, have conceded is well below the amount needed to meet basic needs.

Teachers watching congressional deliberations have learned that once the government programs a yearly salary increase into the budget, it would not likely revisit the amount before Mr. Duterte’s term ends in 2022.

“We who are tasked to fulfill the state’s primary duty to deliver social services with scant resources are denied a decent pay,” Martinez said. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that teachers are restless and agitated.”

The ACT official noted that the government had allotted P134 billion for a 100-percent increase in the salaries of uniformed personnel.  On the other hand, it had protested that P150 billion for a P10,000 increase in the pay of public school teachers would be too costly.

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TAGS: Local news, pay hike, Philippine news update, Teachers
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