Solons hailed for pushing teachers’ pay hike

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) expressed its appreciation to several members of the House of Representatives, particularly belonging to the minority bloc, who continue to support the immediate approval of the proposed P9,000 salary increase for public school teachers.

“We commend lawmakers Luz Ilagan, Liza Maza, Teofisto Guingona III, and Rufus Rodriguez for their determined efforts in pushing for a substantial salary increase for teachers during yesterday’s hearing of the committee on appropriations,” said ACT national chairman Antonio Tinio. ACT led a delegation of public school teachers from all over Metro Manila to attend the hearing.

ACT said last April 21 hearing, committee chairman Rep. Junie Cua presented an amended version of House Joint Resolution No. 24, a proposal that will revise the current Salary Standardization Law and provide pay hikes for all government employees, including the military.

The amendments included raising salaries of the lowest-paid government employees from P6,149 to P9,000 and upgrading teachers’ and nurses’ from Salary Grade 10 to salary grade 11, thereby raising their salaries from P12,026 to P18,549. However, these increases will be implemented over a four-year period starting July 1, 2009.

During the hearing, Tinio proposed to the committee that the salary grade for public school teachers be upgraded to Salary Grade 13, which would bring their monthly salaries to P21,436.

“This is equivalent to our long-standing demand for a P9,000 increase.” Tinio said, at the same time also called for an acceleration of the timetable for implementation of the new salary scheme.

“The proposed P6,523 increase for public school teachers over a four year period will mean a mere P1,630.75 monthly increase per year. After additional taxes and deductions, such an increase will hardly be felt by our teachers. We propose that the full amount be given over a three-year period,” Tinio added.

“Teachers should be upgraded to Salary Grade 13, policemen should have the same salary grade as teachers. Nurses should be upgraded to Salary Grade 15, because that’s the law,” ACT said in a statement.

Ferdinand Gaite, national president of COURAGE, the militant confederation of public sector unions, and Emma Manuel, national president of the Alliance of Health Workers, also shared their views with the committee on appropriations.

Representatives Ilagan and Maza, for their part, expressed their support to ACT’s call to upgrade teachers Salary Grade to 13.

Guingona, who also supported the upgrading call, also pointed out that government nurses should also be placed in Salary Grade 15, not Salary Grade 11, in accordance with R.A. 9173, the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.