MANILA — A teachers' group appealed Wednesday to President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to "significantly" raise the salaries of educators as prices of fuel and basic goods continue to soar.
"Sana ay makinig ang susunod na administrasyon sa hirap na dinadanas ng mga guro at ang pangangailangan ng makabuluhang pagtaas sa kanilang sahod," Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.
(We are hoping that the next administration hears out the hardships that teachers experience and the need for a significant increase in their salaries.)
"The low salaries of teachers are not commensurate to their needs and that of their families and to the indispensable role of teachers in delivering education to millions of youth," he said.
Public school teachers have been clamoring for a big pay hike after President Rodrigo Duterte doubled the salaries of policemen, soldiers and other uniformed personnel.
In January 2020, Duterte signed the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, which provided wage hikes for government workers, including public school teachers.
In 2019, an entry-level teacher earned P20,754 under Salary Grade (SG) 11. This was raised to P22,316 in 2020 through the law.
This year, teachers began receiving P25,439 under SG 11. This will climb to P27,000 next year as part of the pay hike law's final tranche.
Despite this, ACT remained dissatisfied, saying Duterte "failed" to realize his promise of hiking teachers' salaries.
"Doble ang pangako pero barya ang binigay," Basilio said in a text message.
(He promised to double our salaries but gave us spare change.)
The group called on the Department of Education (DepEd) "to join us in demanding the long overdue pay hike for nearly a million of its employees."
"Teachers deserve decent pay. We call on the government to finally upgrade teachers' salaries to Salary Grade 15," Basilio said.
During the campaign period, Marcos' camp reminded the public that he pushed for bills raising teachers' pay to Salary Grade 15 when he was still a senator. The proposed measures, however, were not enacted.
His camp said in a press release last March 18 that after winning the presidency, Marcos "will increase the salaries of public school teachers, adding that he will also provide free training and scholarships to their children."
“Suportahan natin ang ating mga guro, ‘yung sapat ang kanilang sahod, at hindi late dumating ‘yung sahod nila, lahat ng benepisyo na nasa batas ay maibigay natin sa kanila ng sa ganoon ay mawala ang kanilang aalahanin sa sarili at pamilya,” Marcos was quoted in the press release to have said during the SMNI presidential debate.
“Bukod pa diyan hindi lang dapat natin sila sinusuportahan financially, suportahan din natin sila sa pag-aaral, retraining, refresher course para maituro nila ‘yung pinakabago para sa mga bata,” he added.
The outgoing chief executive's daughter, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio, is also the incoming DepEd secretary.
In a separate statement, ACT also urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to speed up the distribution of the P2,000 additional compensation for teachers who rendered extra work hours during the May 9 elections.
"Sana naman ay maibigay na agad itong ipinangako ng Comelec dahil kailangan na ito ng mga guro ngayon lalo pa at sumisirit ang presyo ng mga bilihin," said Basilio.
(We hope the Comelec gives this promised extra pay because our teachers need it, especially now that prices of goods are increasing.)
Marcos had said he was in favor of the DepEd's request to give all teachers and non-teaching personnel who served as members of the Halalan 2022 electoral board an additional P3,000 allowance.
Inflation in the Philippines further accelerated in May as prices of oil and other commodities remained elevated, according to government data.
The consumer price index rose 5.4 percent for the month, faster than 4.9 percent in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported.