By Mario Casayuran
Teaching personnel in state universities and colleges (SUCs) across the country will be able to receive this year part of their long-overdue salary adjustment with the impending approval by Malacanang of the proposed 2019 P3.757 trillion national budget.
“The wait is over,” Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and head of the finance sub-committee, after the Senate ratified Friday night the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed 2019 P3.757 trillion national budget that included funding for job promotion.
An enrolled budget bill will later be sent by both Houses of Congress to President Duterte for his approval.
The finance sub-committee assigned to Angara tackled the spending package of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), embedded in the P3.757-trillion national budget.
Angara said that based on the House version of the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA), a funding of P1.486 billion was set aside for the job promotion of faculty members in SUCs.
He said he initially wanted to earmark P2.9 billion to cover the cycle of promotion from 2013 to 2016, which was supposed to be implemented in 2017 under the National Budget Circular (NBC) 461.
However, the bicameral conference committee-approved spending package only provided for a half-year implementation, citing the late enactment of the 2019 national budget.
“Makaaasa po ang ating mga guro sa SUCs na sisiguraduhin natin na sa susunod na taon ay matatanggap nila ang nalalabi pang halaga para sa kanilang job promotion,” he said. (We assure SUC teachers that we would work for the approval by Congress of the remaining amount in their job promotion.)
NBC 461 is the system of evaluation and promotion for SUC faculty members. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) did not include allocation for the circular in the 2019 national expenditure program it submitted to Congress last year. According to Angara, around 35,000 faculty members of 109 SUCs stand to benefit from the full implementation of NBC 461.
Estimates would show that each faculty member could get a total of P42,500 or about P7,000 monthly for six months.
“Malaking tulong po ito sa ating mga guro. Teachers are among the most underpaid workers, given their workload and role in the society,’’ Angara explained. (This will be a big help to the faculty members.)
Angara believes that job promotion and the corresponding pay increase is the best way to reward outstanding performance, as it serves as a tool to motivate teachers.
“Having inspired and capable teachers is probably one of the best investments our government could make,” he said.
“Definitely this would lead to an improvement in the quality of education in SUCs and the entire public higher education,’’ he added.
Angara has also been pushing for the increase in the salary of public school teachers since he was a congressman representing the lone district of Aurora province.
In June 2016, Angara filed Senate Bill 135 which sought to adjust the minimum salary grade level of teachers from Salary Grade 11 to 19, or double their current monthly base pay of P20,179 to P42,099.
Like his late father, former Senate President Edgardo Angara, young Angara is an active pro-education advocate.