Christmas wish list: Teachers push for immediate release of benefits; pay hike 

Public school teachers on Friday, Dec. 9, urged the government to immediately release their benefits before Christmas and grant their call for a “substantial” pay increase.

(Photo courtesy of ACT Philippines)

Members of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers - National Capital Region (ACT-NCR) Union held a Christmas-themed protest in Mendiola, Manila.

Teachers hung ornaments with their demands on the Teachers’ Christmas Wish Tree and brought wrapped gifts bearing their calls.

They called on the Marcos administration to ensure the release of due teachers’ benefits before Christmas Day and to urgently act to upgrade their salaries as well.

MPSTA President Louie Zabala said that Christmas Day is almost near but the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for the year 2021 has not been released. He noted that it remains “unclear” if the P10,000 Service Recognition Incentive (SRI) will be released by the current administration.

“With the magnitude of work that the government imposed on teachers in relation to the ill-prepared resumption of face-to-face classes, we only deserve to be given additional bonus and have a merry Christmas,” Zabala said. “Release our due benefits immediately!” he added.

Meanwhile, ACT NCR President Ruby Bernardo noted that the “best gift” that the Marcos administration can give teachers is the “fulfillment of its electoral campaign promise to grant us substantial pay hike.”

(Photo courtesy of ACT Philippines)

Bernardo added that teachers “deserve decent salaries.” Thus, ACT has been urging the government to upgrade the salary level of Teacher I from salary grade 11 to salary grade 15.

The groups also urged the government to invest in teachers and education as they reiterated their opposition to the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF).

“The P50 billion from the national budget that will be invested in MIF is better used to upgrade teachers’ salaries so that the quality of teaching can be improved,” Bernardo said.

“This is sure to yield better and long-term benefits to the nation’s economy and the society as a whole,” she added.