By Alliance of Concerned Teachers
November 19, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Teachers from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) headed to the Philippine Senate today to submit their petition for salary increase, which garnered around 25,000 signatures.
“The clamor for a substantial pay hike remains to be loud and strong, as evidenced by the thousands of education workers as well as parents and other supporters from 17 regions who signed the petition. The strongest justification of its urgency is the still-at-peak Philippine inflation,” declared Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Chairperson.
The upper house is currently deliberating the 2019 National Expenditure Program and ACT is pushing for legislators to take into account the demands of teachers and education workers for immediate economic relief and better standard of living.
“The government claims to prioritize social services but the budget proposal released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) tells a different story,” lamented Martinez. She added that the shift from obligation-based to cash-based resulted in a 6.4% decrease in the actual amount of the budget allocation for the education sector, which is in contrary to DBM’s claim that it increased by 12%.
“We urge the Senators not only to heed our demands but to do what is constitutionally mandated of them,” Martinez pressed, citing Section 5 Article 5 of the 1987 Constitution which states that:
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 job satisfaction and fulfillment.
“We are exhausting all possible means to advance our calls, which is why teachers will also go on a Sit-Down Strike on November 29 to show the government that we are united and resolute in our demand for decent salaries,” declared Martinez. The group first made the announcement in a forum last week.
“The protests, which could take on various forms, will continue as long as education workers suffer and the education system crumbles. We will carry on the fight,” concluded Martinez.
ACT is calling for a P30,000 salary for Teacher I, P31,000 for Instructor I, and a P16,000 minimum pay for all government workers. They are also demanding for a P3,000 increase in the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) in light of the erosion of the values of salaries due to the TRAIN-induced inflation.