Following the call of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) for a salary increase, Gabriela Women’s Party representative Luzviminda C. Ilagan urges her fellow legislators to work on giving public school teachers what is due them.
“It’s high time that we increase our teachers’ salaries. Theirs was among the lowest in the country and we must ensure their welfare in the midst of soaring prices of rice and oil,” the former college professor from Mindanao said.
ACT, a progressive, militant and nationalist organization of teachers, wants a P9000 across-the-board wage increase for all public school teachers and non-teaching personnel. Chairman Antonio L. Tinio said that the teachers’ current earnings of P10,933 monthly officially ranks them among the poor. This amount, from which after standard deductions teachers take home only P8,000, is hardly enough to pay for basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. According to the National Wages and Productivity Commission, a family of six in the National Capital Region (NCR) needs P871 per day or P26,130 per month, more than twice the public school teachers’ salary.
The ongoing rice crisis makes the matters worse for the poor public school teachers. The prices of the staple food of the Filipinos have increased from P25-P30 to P35-P45 in Metro Manila following the rice shortage. It now accounts for 60 percent of a family’s expenditure.
To meet their daily food needs, many teachers were forced to work in educational institutions abroad. Some teachers and education graduates even chose to become domestic helpers or caregivers in other countries because these jobs offer salaries higher than what they will receive as teachers in the Philippines.
Ilagan pointed out that the mass migration of teachers to other countries compromises the quality of education in the Philippines.
“We are losing our best teachers to educational institutions abroad because of the much better compensation they offer,” Ilagan said.