While the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Memorandum No. 291 giving public school teachers a six-hour workday as opposed to the previous eight-hour is a welcome change, Gabriela Women’s Party representative Luzviminda C. Ilagan said that it is not enough.
“The DepEd memo will only give teachers more time to prepare their lesson plans and perform other duties, not solve their more pressing problem of how to pay for their families’ basic needs or augment their meager income. What our teachers need more is an increase in their salaries,” Ilagan said.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has been demanding a P9000 across the board wage increase for all public school teachers and non-teaching personnel. Ilagan , a former Ateneo de Davao University professor, said that it is time for public school teachers to get what they want, especially with the oil and rice crises in the country.
Public school teachers, among the lowest earners in the country, earn an average of only P10,000 monthly, less than half of what the National Wages and Productivity Commission said a family of six in the National Capital Region (NCR) needs, which is P871 per day or P26,130 per month.
The P20-P25 increase in the price of rice these past months had made matters worse for our teachers. Food now takes up 60 percent of their meager salary, leaving very small portions to their other needs such as clothing, shelter, and transportation.
The women’s partylist representative commends the Senate for approving on second reading Senate Bill No. 2408 entitled “An Act Providing for Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education,” which seeks to grant a P9,000 across-the-board salary increase for all public school teachers and non-teaching personnel. Under this bill, the increase in teachers’ salary will be given in three equal tranches over three years.