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On World Teachers’ Day, mentors reject 2k salary increase proposal

Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) reject a proposal in Congress to increase their monthly salaries by P2,000, saying the amount is not enough and is “insulting.”

As ACT members hold simultaneous concerted mass actions Friday across the country’s 13 regions on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, the teachers reiterated their demand for a P30,000 minimum monthly salary.

“We reject the P2,000 increase proposed in Congress as it insults our dignity as teachers,” ACT Teachers Union Region III president Romly Clemente said in a statement.

“We deserve a substantial salary increase for us to live decently and with dignity and self-respect,” she added.

In Central Luzon, ACT Teachers Union members are gathering in four activity centers in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac to press their demand for salary increases.

ACT members in Metro Manila will also conduct a similar activity in Mendiola at three o’clock this afternoon.

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, the legislator seen closest to President Rodrigo Duterte, earlier filed a bill proposing a P2,000 salary increase for public school teachers.

In his 4th State of the Nation Address last July, President Rodrigo Duterte called on Congress to pass a new Salary Standardization Law that will raise the pay of government workers, including public school teachers. 

“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 substantial but it will tide you over,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Meanwhile, several other senators reportedly filed bills seeking to substantially raise the salaries of public school teachers.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed Senate Bill No. 19 seeking teachers’ entry-level salaries to not less than P30,000 a month from the current P20,754.

“We should provide teachers with the right incentives to encourage them to remain in the noblest profession of educating and molding our youth to become productive citizens of this country,” Drilon explained.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian for his part filed a bill raising the salary grade  (SG) of public school teachers with the rank of Teacher I, II and III to SG 13, 14, and 15 from their current SG 11, 12, and 13, respectively.

Sen. Sonny Angara meanwhile is seeking to raise the salary grade of public school teachers to SG 19 at the minimum, which has an equivalent pay of P45,269 to P50,702.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sen. Francis Pangilinan for their part proposed to increase the salary of public school teachers by P10,000, which will be implemented in three tranches.

Sen. Nancy Binay also filed a bill seeking to raise the salary of entry-level teachers to P28,000 and non-teaching personnel to P18,000.

Sen. Pia Cayetano also filed a bill seeking a pay hike for teachers.

ACT is commemorating World Teachers Day today, October 4, as its actual date, October 5, falls on a Saturday. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers commemorate World Teachers’ Day with protests

Teachers from different schools in Metro Manila marched to Mendiola last Friday in Manila to commemorate World Teachers’ Day with a protest rally.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and ACT Teachers Party, they staged a National Day of Action for salary increase and against TRAIN Law of the Duterte Government.

Similar protests and actions were also held in Davao City, Cebu City, Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.

According to Joselyn Martinez, National Chairperson of ACT, teachers experience the most oppression among government employees despite their leading role in social development.

The Duterte government failed in its promise to increase the salary of public school teachers unlike the military and police which was doubled this year, they said.

Teachers are also overworked due to oppressive policies like the Results-based Performance Management System and Philippine Standards for Teachers, they added.

They were force to attend different seminars and pay from their own pocket while their allowances are often delayed in arriving, Martines added.

According to Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Party, the P50 billion budget cut for basic education next year will definitely affect the budget for textbooks, feeding programs and other classroom materials.

The group also condemned recent harassments and intimidations against teachers.

This includes a threat of dismissal of Bacolod teachers if they push through with their planned mass leave. Police tried to prohibit Manila Public School Teachers from distributing leaflets and posters to their colleagues in the activity last October 4.

The teachers also slammed PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde about his warning of contempt to professors who teach ‘rebellious ideas’ to the students, citing that this is an attack following the ‘Red October’ Scare spread by the military and government cover up to the real issues such as inflation rate and TRAIN law.  (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

 

Army units harass Lumad mentors on World Teachers’ Day

Two teachers of Lumad schools in far south Mindanao were harassed by Philippine Army Units last October 5, World Teachers’ Day, an indigenous peoples’ rights group reported.

In a statement, the Center for Lumad Advocacy, Networking and Services Inc. (CLANS) said volunteer teacher Aubrey Masalon was arrested Thursday by the 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) in Sitio Lamsalo, Brgy. Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani Province, along with husband Nestor and another community leader.

On the same day, 27th IB soldiers swooped down on Purok Tadluga, Sitio Salaubon, Brgy. Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato to look for volunteer teacher Famela Taplan they reportedly accused of being a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“We vehemently condemn these ongoing harassment by the 73rd and 27th Infantry Battalions against the two volunteer teachers of the CLANS Community Schools on World Teachers Day last October 5 no less,” the group said.

Earlier, on October 4, the 73rd IB allegedly illegally arrested and detained four community leaders  in Sitio Datal Kampong, Malapatan town.

Also last October 2, Taplan was summoned by Brgy. Upper Sepaka chairperson Pudi Ambalgan for a supposed meeting on the CLANS school’s permit.

She failed to attend but was later informed her school was accused of being an NPA front and that she had to “clear her name” at the local police station on October 4.

Taplan chose to proceed to the CLANS headquarters in General Santos City instead after a local official failed to accompany her to the police station as promised.

CLANS said Taplan’s sitio leader Romeo A. Queliste is willing to attest to her work as a volunteer teacher in their community.

“After the forcible closure of 33 CLANS schools, the escalating attacks against Lumad teachers and students are direct results of President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao,” CLANS said.

“These incidents show that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Duterte himself are bent on suppressing the Lumads’ struggle to defend their ancestral domain,” the group added.

CLANS called on the Duterte government to lift martial law in Mindanao and resume formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines “for the Lumad and the Filipino people to achieve just and lasting peace.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers demand pay increase and peace

On World Teachers Day 2016, union members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to the gates of Malacanang Palace in Manila to assert education as a right of the people. Read more