1,000 public school teachers to march to House for bigger pay hike – ACT
Over a thousand public school teachers are expected to troop to the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Sept. 8) as they call on the government to give state workers a substantial increase in their salaries.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) national chair Benjamin Valbuena slammed on Sunday, the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) proposed P50.6-billion budget for the salary hike of around 1.3 million government employees, calling it “meager” and said it would not give state workers, especially teachers, the opportunity to attain “a decent standard of living.”
Under the DBM’s proposed budget, every state employee would receive a monthly average increase of around P3,000. Valbuena’s group said that this amount would not be enough to cover the needs of teachers, citing the rising costs of basic goods and services.
ACT said that public school teachers in both elementary and high school have been earning P18,549 monthly. The group is proposing that government peg the salary at P25,000, citing a study of the National Economic and Development Authority, and the National Wages and Productivity Commission that said that for a family of five to live decently, an employee should earn at least P1,054 daily.
“The government calls us modern-day heroes and yet our monthly pay deprives us and our families of our right for a just and decent living,” Valbuena said in a press briefing on Sunday. He added that because of the teachers’ meager income, some “aren’t motivated” anymore to teach in the country, forcing them to look for greener pasture abroad, which has contributed to the deterioration of the country’s public education system.
Valbuena lamented that those who have chosen to stay in the country have fallen prey to loan sharks, which at times proved to be fatal. In September last year, three teachers in Pangasinan died when a policeman ran amok because one of the fatalities could not pay him back.
PO3 Domino Alipio, who owned a money lending business, shot dead Labrador National High School teacher Florenda Flores and Pangasinan National High School (PNHS) teachers Acedillo Sison and Linda Sison. The policeman ran amok at PNHS when Flores, who had been working as his agent, returned to him empty-handed.
Valbuena said that a just salary increase for state workers would give the Aquino administration a “graceful exit.”
Manila Public School Teachers Association president Louie Zabala said “quality pay” for teachers would result in “quality education.”
“It’s hard for us to teach when our stomachs are grumbling. When we keep on thinking where we’d get the money to pay for children’s tuition, our utilities and other incidental expenses,” Zabala said.
ACT said it would lead the third nationwide sitdown strike on Tuesday, where teachers would not teach students lessons but instead tell them the plight of the country’s teachers. The group sought the parents’ understanding for their move, noting that whatever can be achieved by their protest would greatly benefit the students.
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