Teachers’ group launches national signature campaign calling for salary increase

Published June 2, 2018, 4:39 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

To intensify its call for pay hike, a teachers’ group today launched a national signature campaign calling for the salary increase of public school teachers.

Master Teacher II Mrs. Glen M. Talosig, gives lessons to her Grade 2 students at the Benigno Aquino Jr. Elementary School in Baseco, Manila. (JOHN JEROME GANZON / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
public school teacher (Manila Bulletin file photo)

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) launched the “National Signature Campaign for Teachers’ Salary Increase” at the Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City. The launch coincides with the ongoing National Seminar on the Role of Teacher-Leaders in the DepEd Legal Process where teachers’ legal rights as well as their legislative advocacies were tackled.

According to TDC national chairperson Benjo Basas, the group is expecting to gather at least 500,000 signatures from public school teachers and DepEd employees nationwide and present accomplish petition forms to President Rodrigo Duterte on or before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.

“Come June 4, our teachers will once again be at the frontline of another battle, the continuing fight against illiteracy,” said Basas, who is also a teacher in Caloocan City. “However, we have to be equipped and armed with the necessary weapons – just compensation and provision of the mandated benefits under the existing laws,” he added.

TDC has again reminded the Duterte government of its campaign promise to provide a salary increase for teachers even as the president, himself, “last month announced that his administration is going to hike teachers’ salaries.”

“We recognize that pronouncement from the president, however, we do not know yet how it will be given and how much the amount would be,” Basas said. “We patiently waited for this promise since he took the presidency two years ago, while obviously, our brothers and sisters in the uniformed service were given priority,” he added.

“For the longest time, our calls for a just compensation and treatment commensurate to our role in society have been neglected by the previous administrations,” Basas said.

Getting ready for school opening

Despite the pronouncement of the Department of Education (DepEd) of its readiness on the new school opening, the teachers once again raise concerns over their welfare.

Aside from salary increase, TDC challenged the DepEd leadership to implement the provisions of Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, a vintage law enacted in 1966.

DepEd, Basas said, is “mandated to implement benefits under several provisions of Magna Carta, those that have something to do with our welfare.” These benefits, he added, “are guaranteed by law, yet neglected for the longest time.”

Among the provisions of said law that were not implemented since 1966 according to Basas are overtime pay, payment of special hardship allowances, free annual medical checkup, hospitalization and compensation for injuries and salary increase upon retirement. “We hope that the government will immediately do something for these matters,” he said. “It’s about time that the teachers would be given a social recognition they so deserved,” he added.

Members of the TDC from Metro Manila will attend a mass at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Caloocan City tomorrow, June 3, “to pray for a successful school year for children and the government’s action on their socioeconomic demand.”