By Merlina Hernando Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) assured its teaching and non-teaching personnel that their salaries will be “adjusted accordingly” once the guidelines and the funds for the new salary rate effective starting this January have been issued and released.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla, in an interview, issued clarifications on the effectivity and payment of the salary increase for Calendar Year (CY) 2020 through the Salary Standardization Law (SSL-5).
“They don’t have to worry if their payslips still do not reflect the SSL-5,” Sevilla said. She reiterated that the effectivity of the new salary adjustment is January, 2020.
“Before we can implement it, we have to wait for the notice of salary adjustment and that is something that the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] will trigger,” Sevilla explained. The DBM, she added, has to “issue the guidelines that the new salary rate can be implemented already.”
Signed by President Duterte earlier this month,the SSL-5 will be implemented in four tranches – from 2020 to 2023. Under the SSL-5, entry-level teachers and other employees who are receiving Salary Grade 11 will receive an increase from P20,754 a month to P22,316 in 2020; P23,877 in 2021; P25,439 in 2022; and P27,000 in 2023.
“While we’re waiting for that [guidelines], don’t worry because your salary will have a differential,” Sevilla said. “It will be computed starting January – so when the new salary standardization guidelines are out and most importantly, when the funds are available – we can adjust accordingly,” she added.
Sevilla said that the funds for the salary increase starting this year are not lodged under the DepEd’s 2020 budget. “What has been approved in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2020 for DepEd is the old salary rate,” she noted. “The funding for SSL 5 will come from DBM because it will be sourced from a lump sum fund coming from the MPBF [Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund],” she added.
The MPBF, Sevilla said, will be issued by DBM to the agencies including DepEd. “Once we receive that, we will compute the salary differential,” she explained. “We will compute it starting January – until we get the funding – then, if there will be notice of salary adjustment then the payslip will be adjusted to the new rate,” she added.
Meanwhile, teachers groups continue to decry the “measly” pay hike through SSL-5 and call for 4-level salary upgrading.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, for instance, announced their fight for the upgrading of public school teachers’ salaries to salary grade 15. For the group, the Php1,562 monthly increase until 2023 for public school teachers is “nowhere near the doubled salary” which the Duterte “repeatedly pledged and have quickly provided for cops and soldiers.”
ACT lamented that the SSL-5 “does not come close” to teachers’ demand for Php30,000 minimum pay, which nurses will start receiving this year after the supreme court ruled to move nurses’ entry-level pay to salary grade (SG) 15.
“If anything, the pay hike enacted by Duterte further depressed teachers’ status as, in current standards, our salaries fall behind those of professionals’ in other fields,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio noted that the “incessantly rising costs of living amplifies this injustice, forcing teachers deeper into debt and substandard living” thus, “we deserve better, our profession deserves to be dignified. Hence our call to upgrade teachers’ salaries to SG 15.”