Teachers from all over Metro Manila are holding a sit-down protest today to call for higher salaries and benefits in light of recent spikes in inflation.
Seeking relief from their dire economic conditions, public school teachers from more than 350 schools in the National Capital Region stopped regular lessons and instead staged sit-down protests to dramatize their call for urgent salary increases and higher budget for education.
“For public school teachers, it is our instrument to jolt the regime into heeding our cry that it should take care of its workers who toil everyday to deliver the mandate of the State,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) chairperson Joselyn Martinez said.
ACT members gathered thousands of students in school quadrangles and hallways to explain the economic crisis they say undermine the teachers’ economic wellbeing.
Support actions are also being held in several regions, ACT said.
NCR teachers are also holding simultaneous protest actions in front of the Quezon City Hall and in Mendiola.
“While in protest, we continue to fulfil our duties to our youth by educating them on the national situation and the people’s rights,” Martinez said.
The ACT leader said that the students’ social awareness and critical thinking are developed when public issues are explained to them.
Martinez blamed the Rodrigo Duterte government for its failure to fulfill its promise for a substantial salary increase at a time when their salaries have been drastically eroded by inflation.
Martinez also defended their sit-down protests against threats by Department of Education secretary Leonor Briones that their action may face legal implications.
“We have nothing to fear because our protest is well within our rights and in line with the performance of our duties. We are not abandoning our responsibilities. In fact we are doing this for the love of teaching,” Martinez said.
“We fight because we want to stay and continue teaching, especially our underprivileged students,” Martinez explained.
Martinez said the protest is being held in view of the plenary deliberations of the Senate on the 2019 national budget next week.
ACT Philippines lobbies that salaries of entry-level teachers be adjusted to the level of Police Officer I at Php30,000 monthly; that of Salary Grade 1 employees’ be increased to Php 16,000 a month; and an entry-level salary of Php31,000 for college instructors.
It also pushes for the adjustment of the Php2,000 Personnel Economic Relief Allowance to Php5,000 due to the steeply rising cost of living.
They assert for higher education budget to fill in the shortages in the education system and enable the granting of better benefits for the teaching and non-teaching personnel # (Raymund B. Villanueva)