Teachers are unhappy with Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement of a salary increase, saying they find no confort in the President’s latest promise of a pay hike that that is only ‘a little bit bigger.’
“We find no comfort in President Duterte’s announcement of a pay hike that is ‘a little bit bigger than before’ for teachers, nurses, and all other government employees under another SSL (salary standardization law), which he urged Congress to pass,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said immediately after Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address last Monday.
Duterte urged lawmakers to pass a new SSL to benefit teachers, nurses and other government employees.
“To the teachers who toil and work tirelessly to educate our young, what you have been asking for is included here. It may not be so big but it will tide you over,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.
ACT expressed disappointment over the President’s announcement, saying it was not what Duterte promised three years ago.
“If anything, it raises further anxieties among teachers who are hardly making ends meet due to very low pay amid incessantly soaring prices, and who have waited restlessly over the last three years for the fulfilment of President Duterte’s promise to give due recognition to the value of our service and profession,” ACT said.
The group said new promise of a pay hike that is “a little bit bigger than before” is best exemplified by Senator Bong Go’s proposed bill of a Php588 increase in the pay of salary grade 1 employees, with the rest of the grade levels following accordingly.
“Such an amount is an insult to our service and contribution to national development,” ACT said, adding a minimal salary increase will fail to feed their families and bring their children to school.
“It will not free us from the chains of debts which our economic situation has forced upon us,” ACT said.
The group added that Duterte’s latest promise will not raise the standards of living of more than a million civilian employees, afford them decent lives nor bring dignity to the teaching profession.
“’A little bit bigger’ is not what he promised us. Hence, we pledge to remain steadfast in our demand for a substantial salary increase because we deserve a lot more than what this administration is offering us, and we shall not cease until we get what is rightfully ours,” ACT said.
Duterte has more than doubled the salaries of soldiers as well as police, jail and fire protection officers in January 2018. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)