VP Duterte’s education report ignored pay hike calls – teachers
MANILA, Philippines — While there was a commitment to address issues affecting their net take-home pay, public school teachers said it was a “great disappointment” that nothing was said about their call for salary upgrades when Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte delivered her report on the state of education in the country.
“If there is something that the teachers are most looking forward to in the report, it is really the issue of salary because the pay of the teachers has been neglected for a long time,” Ruby Bernardo, president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) National Capital Region Union, said in a press briefing.
The most significant contributing factor to their low take-home pay, ACT said, was the “inadequacy” of teachers’ salaries.
“Amid calls for salary upgrading for teachers as the last tranche of the Salary Standardization Law V ends this year, the current Department of Education (DepEd) administration chose to evade and did not make any mention of the matter, to the great disappointment of teachers,” it added.
In her Basic Education Report 2023 on Monday, Duterte recognized that the education system has “failed” and “burdened” teachers.
More benefits pushed
In laying down the education agenda during her term, she underscored that teachers would not be left behind, as the government intended to provide support through professional development programs, the removal of nonteaching tasks, and the fast-tracking of the implementation of the career progression policy.
Duterte also vowed to continuously push for additional benefits under the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, specifically the implementation of the policy on the distribution of teacher workload and payment of teaching overload.
ACT commended Duterte for admitting the “undeniable dismal state” of basic education in the country—a “positive move that many past DepEd secretaries failed to do as they were too occupied defending themselves from complaints and criticisms.”
However, it said that she fell short of giving tangible, time-bound solutions, as the group stressed that more than the rhetoric, she should have provided specific action steps on her promises.
“[She] said that teaching tasks will be reduced. Be particular. [She] needs to specify how many nonteaching personnel she will hire for the next couple of months,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general.
According to Duterte, the lack of school infrastructure was the biggest problem hounding the Philippine education system with more than 100,000 classrooms deemed unusable.
ACT pointed out though that she only spoke of a 6,000-classroom target this year, “not even enough to accommodate the increase in student population.”
“Apart from this, no specific targets and timelines were presented to convincingly show that the agency will cut down the classroom shortage significantly,” it said.