Makabayan Bloc Pushes for P50K Salary for Teachers

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The Makabayan bloc of lawmakers in the House of Representatives has recently introduced a bill that aims to raise the minimum monthly salary of public school teachers to P50,000. House Bill (HB) 9920 seeks to address the insufficiency of the current Salary Standardization Law (SSL) adjustment implemented in 2020.

According to the explanatory note of the bill, even with the salary adjustment, the monthly pay of mid-level personnel like public school teachers (Salary Grade 11) remains inadequate to meet the family living wage of P1,119 per day or P33,570 per month. The bill emphasizes that this amount is crucial for a family of five to have a decent and humane standard of living.

Section 2 of the bill states that the minimum monthly salary of public school teachers should be P50,000 or equivalent to salary grade 15, “or whichever is higher.” If the bill is enacted into law, the salaries for higher positions will also be adjusted accordingly. The bill further states that the salaries of public school teachers and education support personnel should be adjusted annually to keep pace with the cost of living.

The Salary Standardization Law (SSL) was previously amended in 2020 through Republic Act 11466 (SSL V) for an adjustment. However, the bill highlights that even after the last tranche of SSL V, teachers still receive meager increases of a little over P6,000 spread across four years, or about P1,500 annually. These small increases are quickly eroded by inflation and excise taxes. Moreover, mid-level personnel like teachers face income tax deductions, further reducing their take-home pay as their salaries surpass the P250,000 cap for exempt incomes.

It is worth noting that SSL V does not cover military and uniformed personnel. The fourth tranche of the pay increase for personnel of national government agencies, as mandated by SSL V, is set to begin on January 1, 2023.

The Makabayan bloc, composed of ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Women’s Party Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Party-List Raoul Manuel, is leading the charge in advocating for the improvement of teachers’ salaries and working conditions.

In a separate development, two House lawmakers have introduced bills aimed at reducing the administrative workload of teachers and principals in both private and public schools nationwide.

Bohol Rep. Kristine Alexie Tutor filed House Bill 9913, which proposes the creation of Health and Safety Officer positions in all schools. These officers would serve as front-line healthcare providers strategically placed within schools to cater to the needs of students, parents, and teachers. The bill aims to alleviate teachers and faculty members from non-teaching responsibilities imposed by the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Commission on Higher Education.

Similarly, Biñan Rep. Marlyn Alonte filed House Bill 9914, which seeks to establish minimum standards for administrative professionals and personnel in all basic education schools across the country. The bill proposes the appointment of administrative personnel to handle non-classroom teaching functions such as student enrollment, record-keeping, administration of performance evaluation examinations, and advisory roles to student organizations.

Both bills aim to streamline administrative tasks, allowing teachers to focus more on their primary role of educating students. The proposed measures take into account the size and needs of each school’s student population to ensure effective implementation.

These legislative initiatives reflect the commitment of lawmakers to address the concerns of the education sector and improve the working conditions of teachers. By advocating for higher salaries and reducing administrative burdens, these bills aim to uplift the teaching profession and provide educators with the support they need to deliver quality education to the nation’s youth.

Source: The Manila Times

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