50k-plus teachers ask Congress to increase monthly pay

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Tuesday, Oct. 4, filed a petition signed by 57,209 educators for the House of Representatives to increase the salaries of public school teachers to P35,000 per month, citing the campaign promise of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to improve the welfare of teachers.

(Photo from ACT Philippines)

The Petition for the Upgrading of Teachers’ Salaries and Salary Increase for Education Support Personnel, sought the passage of bills that would upgrade the entry-level salaries of public school teachers from the current Salary Grade (SG) 11—or P25,439—to SG 15–or P35,097—and of college instructors from SG 12—or P27,608—to SG 16—or P38,150.

The petition also included private school teachers, who the group said should receive a minimum of P30,000 per month.

ACT chairperson Vladimer Quetua, in a letter to Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co, said it is “urgent, necessary and justified” for teachers to receive a pay increase in compliance to Section 15 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers that assured teachers must receive equal pay to other professions with similar qualifications.

Co is the chairperson of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations.

“Clearly, the low level of teachers’ salaries has been bogging the education system down. There is an urgent need to uplift the economic conditions of our teachers in order to capacitate them towards our goal of education recovery and improving the quality of education,” Quetua said.

As the country celebrates National Teachers’ Month and World Teachers’ Day, the ACT chairperson stated that “it is our fervent hope that our lawmakers would do something as concrete and as substantive as enacting considerable pay raise for our teachers and education support personnel.”

In their joint petition, the teachers described themselves to be overworked, underpaid and undersupported.”

ACT-NCR Union Secretary Ruby Bernardo (left) shows a copy of the petition to the media on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. (ACT Philippines)

They reminded Marcos of his campaign promise “to take care of the welfare of teachers and of the whole education sector once elected in office.”

The teachers also enumerated their demands:

* Upgrade the entry-level salary of public school teachers from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15, and implement the corresponding upgrades for other positions;

* Upgrade the entry-level salary of instructors in local and state universities and colleges from SG 12 to SG 16, and implement corresponding upgrades for other positions;

* Set minimum salary of private school teachers at 30,000 per month;

* Set a national minimum living wage of Salary Grade 1 education workers in government and education support personnel in private schools.

They lamented that their salaries “have long been left behind” by other professions, such as nurses and uniformed personnel.

Quetua shared that as of 2022, those occupying Teacher I positions—P25,439 to P27,514–compose 52 percent of the public school teacher population.

This is below the current monthly family living wage level of P29,042, based on the computations of Ibon Foundation.

“As such, it is no surprise that many of our teachers are forced to find other sources of income to make ends meet, or worse, look for better-paying jobs overseas,” Quetua said.

Present in the filing of the petition were ACT-National Capital Region (NCR) Union Secretary Ruby Bernardo, ACT Philippines Treasurer Annariza Alzate, and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro.