Teachers’ organizations remain consistent with demand for pay hike

Published July 22, 2019, 7:55 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Teachers, education workers, and other advocates on Monday joined protest rallies in time for the 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Teachers, education workers and advocates joined protest rallies for the 2019 SONA of President Duterte. (Alliance of Concerned Teachers FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Teachers, education workers and advocates joined protest rallies for the 2019 SONA of President Duterte.
(Alliance of Concerned Teachers FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, thousands of education workers and advocates marched on SONA day to call for a substantial pay hike and for Philippine Sovereignty all of which – the group says – are the President’s “declared commitments to the people.”

ACT’s member unions and organizations’ main banner calls include ‘#TuparinAngPangako’, ‘Sweldo Itaas!’, and ‘Atin ang Pinas!’“On the President’s 4th SONA, we expect him to deliver not only on his promises but, more importantly, on his duties to the Filipino people and to our country,” said ACT Treasurer Vladimer Quetua.

The teachers and advocates also create a giant chalk art along Commonwealth Avenue which read, ‘Lesson of the Day: #TuparinAngPangako’. The group remains hopeful that the President will announce on his SONA the “definite” granting of a “meaningful pay hike that will elevate the status of millions of public servant.”

ACT has been pressing the administration for the increase in the base pay of rank-and-file government employees to Php16,000 for salary grade 1, Php30,000 for teacher 1, and Php31,000 for instructor 1.

“Raising the pay of civilian employees is a step towards strengthening the social services sector of the government, which performs the primary mandate of the state,” Queta said. “It is a measure that contributes to social justice and to national development, but such will only be possible if the government will redirect the Filipino people’s resources away from anti-people policies and towards social services,” he added.

The ACT slammed the President’s current policy on war against Filipinos “while bowing down to foreign powers.” The group added that this “betrays its aim and onus to uphold and protect the interests of the nation.”

Meanwhile, the education group also reiterated its call to scrap policies such as the war on drugs, attacks on critics which, according to them, is “masquerading as counterinsurgency.” The group also asked that the other “fascist measures” implemented by the state should be halted. Likewise, ACT is demanding to sever “unequal relations” with other countries such as China as well as the “advancement” of a genuinely independent foreign policy.

“Enough with the persecution of activists and critics! Enough with the pardoning of cohorts! Enough with the selling of our sovereign rights to China! Uphold the interests of the Filipino people, heed our calls: Tuparin ang pangako, salary increase now! Atin ang Pinas!” chanted Quetua during teachers’ SONA day protest outside the Diliman Preparatory School.

ACT also issued the education sector’s own commitment to national development, which included holding the President and the entire government to its duties and obligations to the people. “When Duterte assumed office, he committed his life and service to the Filipino people and to the country.” Queta said. “And so we hold him to his oath of ‘preserving and defending’ [the Philippine] constitution, executing its laws, and doing justice to every man,” he ended.