By Alliance of Concerned Teachers
September 3, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers expressed concern over the recently released call for licensed teachers to apply for Correction Technical Officer positions under the Bureau of Corrections, saying that this might lessen further the already inadequate number of active teachers in public schools.
ACT research shows that BuCor Technical Officers receive a starting salary of P29,668.00. Entry-level teachers under the Department of Education, on the other hand, get only a monthly salary of P20,179.00. BuCor Technical Officers got more than 100% salary increase in March 2018, when the salary adjustments for BuCor personnel were implemented to harmonize with the existing salary levels of uniformed personnel which were doubled in January.
“DepEd recently said that that the reason why many teaching positions remain unfilled is because of insufficiency in the number of qualified applicants. If this is true, how will the education system cope if teachers would be forced out of the profession in search of decent and livable wages?” asked Raymond Basilio, Secretary-General of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines.
He explained further that the situation only prove the “dilemma and inconsistencies that come about when salary adjustments in government are done one-sidedly.”
“While Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno speaks about studying the salary scheme in government to match the prevailing rates in the private sector, what he should be doing instead is to remedy the distorted salary scheme within the government itself by effecting immediately a substantive increase in the salaries of civilian public employees to be at par with the uniformed personnel,” Basilio asserted.
He explained that teachers are suffering the double burden of insufficient number of teachers and low salaries. A major factor in the overloading of teachers and large class size is the insufficient number of active teachers. Teachers’ salaries, on the other hand, could no longer meet the needs of their families. He stressed that, “by the day, the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries gets eroded by inflation and they are in no way commensurate to the multiple roles which teachers take on in school,” Basilio said.
“We unfortunately see no signs of the promised wage hike for teachers as the Duterte government proposed for budget cuts in education in 2019 while DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones betrayed the teachers when she readily accepted the cuts in the recent Congress budget hearing,’ said Basilio.
Earlier last week, the DBM-proposed budget for DepEd was deliberated in Congress, in which a P77B cut on DepEd’s proposal for 2019 was presented to the Committee on Appropriations.
“If we want to improve the education system, we must allot ample resources for it, which include budget for higher salaries and additional staff. Otherwise, it is our fear that the number of educators will continue to go down and transfer to jobs with better pay such as the ones in BuCor,” explained Basilio.
Basilio called on the President to make good on his promise to teachers, “if the President can do it for uniformed personnel as well as employees in BuCor, surely he can and he must do the same for teachers.”
“Teachers’ Month is fast approaching, with the opening only three days away. Teachers and their significant contribution to society can best be honored by implementing a salary increase and by providing a higher budget for education,” concluded Basilio.