Solon reminds Duterte: Teachers are important, they deserve salary hike like cops, soldiers

Published January 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio

A militant lawmaker has underscored the importance of teachers to the country, after President Rodrigo Duterte allegedly made an unsavory comparison between teachers and law enforcers like the police and military.

ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro

“Teachers play a very important role in nation building. Educators guide the youth and help advance human knowledge through critical thinking and guided analysis,” ACT-Teachers party-list Representative France Castro said.

“They should not be treated as less important, especially to those who carry guns and bombs,” said Castro, a member of the Makabayan Bloc.

“There are still many tasks assigned to teachers that are jobs that ought to be done by employees of other government agencies. Moreover, the lack of education support personnel forces teachers to fulfill the roles of nurses, guidance counselors, maintenance staff, security guards, clerks, and many others.”

Late last month in Digos City, Duterte implied that cops and soldiers are more important than teachers because the Philippines is a “troubled land.” As such, the Chief Executive said he needs people “who are not afraid to die” for the country.

The context of Duterte’s statements was related to questions on why the salaries of public school teachers haven’t been doubled like that of cops and soldiers under his administration.

“What does President Duterte have against teachers? Just because a profession does not carry firearms does not mean they are less important than those who do,” Castro said.

She pointed out that teachers’ salaries are far behind those of other professions with similar workloads and qualification requirements.

The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act No. 4670) states that salaries must compare favorably with those of other occupations requiring equivalent or similar qualifications, training, and abilities, to ensure teachers a reasonable standard of living for themselves and their families.

Castro said, “It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that the salaries of teachers compare favorably with those of other professions.

“The government already relies on public school teachers for so many things. The service they provide goes beyond their lesson plans. They are also nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, and serve in the elections. They cross rivers and climb mountains just to be able to reach their schools and communities.

“Teachers and other government employees will continue to demand for the substantial salary increase they deserve. More importantly, they will not allow [themselves] to be treated as less important.”