By Hannah Torregoza
Re-electionist Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara stressed the need for government to increase the take home pay of public school teachers if it wants to improve the quality of education in the country.
“Quality education begins with quality teachers. And to have good quality teachers in our public schools we need to pay them well,” Angara said in a statement.
“I am sure money is not the overriding motivation for educators because many of them are dedicated and they love what they are doing.
But teachers are not martyrs; they should be valued by society and compensated accordingly,” the senator pointed out.
Angara made the statement during a campaign sortie in Lucena City with fellow senatorial candidates of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional political party chaired by presidential daughter Davao City Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Lucena City has a total of 157 elementary and secondary educational institutions — 88 elementary schools, 38 junior high schools and 31 senior high schools. Sixty three of these are public schools, making it one of the educational centers in Southern Tagalog.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier promised to increase the take-home pay of public school teachers this year after he doubled the pay of the military and the police.
However, the President did not mention how much the pay hike would be, but it was definitely on top of the fourth and last tranche of salary increases for all government workers to be implemented this year.
Angara hopes the teacher’s pay adjustment would be equivalent or close to the rate he has been pushing since 2016 when he filed Senate Bill No. 135.
The bill seeks 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.
The lawmaker said the salary increase would help attract more qualified and competent educators to teach in public schools. The low pay for teachers has discouraged many to enter the teaching profession.
“Our teachers are considered to be the heart of the educational system. The government needs to give priority to their welfare and interests,” Angara reiterated.
“Definitely, this would lead to an improvement in the quality of education in our public school system,” he said.