Message: Gurong Pilipino: Turo Mo, Kinabukasan Ko!

By BAGUIO CITY COUNCILOR ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
www.nordis.net

A message on the celebration of World Teacher’s Day

A pleasant day to everybody!

No words can actually capture an expression recognizing the roles of teachers in our society. But the theme on this year’s celebration Gurong Pilipino: Turo Mo, Kinabukasan Ko substantiated and iterated the role of our teachers – OUR TEACHERS, OUR HEROES!

Considered as second parents to our children when they entered basic education, the teachers helped in shaping the personality development in the future of their students. While teachers supplement the values being learned by the students from their parents or guardians, moreover, they facilitate the development of their wards’ knowledge through their classrooms teachings, aids, and their methodologies, particularly to elementary students who are in their formative years. Teachers always aim for the excellence of their students; despite their household chores and obligations to their own children and families, too. I remember during my elementary days, my teachers contributed to my values learned inside the classrooms and as a member of the Boys Scout of the Philippines. These values are still being observed even as a government official of our city.

Truly, there are no professionals if there were no teachers! And these professionals had the ingredients of their personalities the values, skills and knowledge that their teachers had imparted to them, particularly during their basic education days!

But despite their dedication and excellent performance in their profession, the teachers face the brunt of the economic crisis that our country continuously experience at present. They are among the lowly paid sectors in our society.

I would like to share legislations that proved teachers are among those lowly paid sectors in our society. Executive Order 201, series of 2016, was the latest adjustment from the earlier Salary Standardization Law affecting lower and middle government employees, including the teachers. The salary increase, however, is insufficient to provide a decent or human standard of living to the rank and file, who comprise the majority of the government bureaucracy.
Concretely, I would like to cite that under the said adjustment in Executive Order 201, public school teachers and government hospital nurses share an entry-level position of Salary Grade 11 with an increase of P 2,205 monthly – that is from P18,549 monthly to P20,754 monthly. That monthly increase of P 2,205 is spread in four years. Actually, this means a monthly increase of P551.25 or a mere P 25.05 per day increase.

From this condition of our public teachers, the representative of the ACT Teachers Party List Representative Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France L. Castro and their fellow progressive party lists in the House of Representatives introduced on February 20, 2018, House Bill No. 7211, an act increasing the minimum salaries of public school teachers and other government employees and augmenting the personnel economic relief allowance. The bill proposes:

  1. To increase the minimum salaries of public school teachers in basic education so that the entry-level salary shall not be less than P 30,000 a month and those occupying higher positions shall be adjusted accordingly;
  2. To raise the minimum salary grade level of higher education teaching personnel in state universities and local universities and colleges shall not be less than P31,000 a month and those occupying higher positions shall be adjusted accordingly;
  3. To augment the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance granted to government employees from P 2,000 to P5,0000.

As I am convinced that the approval of above House Bill will alleviate the living conditions of teachers and government employees and guarantee them of their right to a living wage, I authored Resolution Numbered 049, Series of 2017, supporting the enactment of House Bill No. 56 filed in 2017 which is the same with that HB 7211 except with the increase of P 5,000 from salaries of the basic education and higher education. Resolution Numbered 049 was unanimously approved by the City Council on January 30, 2017 and was signed by the Mayor on February 8, 2017, which showed that even our local officials are supportive of our teachers’ plight.

In asking your support for the salary increase for our public school teachers, I would like to point out that even our fundamental law – the 1987 Philippine Constitution – has the mandate for the right of our teachers for a just living wage. Article XIV, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution states: “The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of jobs satisfaction and fulfilment.”

Since 1977 during then President Ferdinand Marcos and up to the present, the highest pie of the national budget had been used for paying the foreign and domestic debt incurred by the government. Such policy is traceable from Marcos Presidential Decree 1177, issued on July 30, 1977, which mandated for the automatic appropriation for debt servicing. In 1986 when Marcos was removed from the presidency, the country’s debt was 18 billion dollars. As PD 1177 exists despite Article XIV, Section 5 (5) of the 1987 Constitution and with the debt dependent administrations after, including that of the administration of President Duterte, the Philippine debt increased to 7.1 trillion pesos from last year’s 6.43 trillion pesos. Again, it should be education that shall receive the highest budgetary allocation as based on the 1987 Philippine Constitution!

Even the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, known as Republic Act no. 4670, mandated that salaries of public school teachers “shall compare favorably with those paid in occupations requiring equivalent or similar qualifications, training and abilities” that “they shall be such as to insure teachers a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families” (Sections 15 (a) and (b)).

Our laws then speak for themselves: they are in favour of the salaries of our public teachers worth for decent and humane living. To the parents and/or guardians and to the students, should I say more to convince you that our public school teachers need our support for their salary increase! To the teachers, we are here supporting you and your cause to uplift your condition – as you are our hero! Happy teachers’ day! # nordis.net

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