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P50k salary for entry-level public school teachers sought

MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to raise the monthly salary of public school teachers to meet the “family living wage” needed for a decent standard of living has been filed in the House of Representatives. 

House Bill 9920 — filed by Makabayan bloc lawmakers on Tuesday — increases entry-level public school teachers’ monthly salary to P50,000 or Salary Grade 15 from the current P27,000 or Salary Grade 11. 

The proposed wage hike, which nearly doubles the current wages received by public school educators, takes into account the rising prices of basic goods and the “distortion” caused by the two-fold jump in military personnel’s wages during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, the bill’s explanatory note stated.

The measure noted that teachers' "dire financial woes" have deepened following the COVID-19 pandemic and "several slaps of increases in the prices of fuel and basic commodities."

"Indeed, how far can P27,000 take a Teacher I and his or her family at a time when fuel prices rise almost weekly?" the bill stated. 

While acknowledging that the government has institutionalized an annual increase in teachers' salaries through the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2019, the lawmakers also noted that rank-and-file and mid-level government workers are still at the "losing end." 

The lawmakers pointed out that teachers occupying Teacher I to Teacher III positions receive salaries that fall below the P33,570 minimum family living wage by the economic think tank IBON Foundation. 

This figure is the IBON Foundation's estimated minimum amount that can sufficiently provide Filipino families with a decent standard of living. 

The bill also criticizes the increases that police and military personnel get in the SSL in comparison to the salary increases for educators. 

In 2018, around 76,000 police personnel with the rank of Police Officer 1 were promised a 100% increase in their base pay, increasing their monthly salary from P14,834 to P29,668.

"Teachers are given increases of a little over P6,000 spread across four years, or about P1,500 annually," the bill stated. 

"Teachers cannot enter and remain in the service without the training and fortitude required