92% of public school teachers receive ‘unliveable’ salaries; group calls gov’t’s pay hike a ‘failure’

Despite the 2023 salary adjustment, a group of education workers on Thursday, Jan. 12, called the government’s measure a “failure” with over 70 percent of its workers still being “paid below living wage.”

Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) stage a picket protest in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City in September 2022. (NOEL PABALATE / MANILA BULLETIN)

For the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, the Salary Standardization Law V (SSL V) is a “failure” as the gross salaries of 76 percent of government workers “still fell below the living wage this year.”

The group issued a statement reacting to the budget agency’s release of guidelines for the last tranche of the four-year salary adjustments for government employees under the SSL V.

ACT Chairperson Vladimer Quetua said that the gross monthly salaries of all civilian government workers occupying positions with salary grades one to 13 range from P13,000 to P33,591 --- which fall below the current daily living wage level of P1,146 or P34,380 monthly.

Quetua pointed out that totaling 1,085,772 personnel, they compose 76 percent of all 1,435,593 filled civilian positions in government covered by the SSL based on the Department of Budget and Management Staffing (DBM) Summary for 2022.

Included here, Quetua said, are 92 percent of public school teachers who receive “unliveable salaries” despite their professional status.

“The situation calls for the urgent passing of a new law that will significantly increase the pay of low-salaried government workers and set the minimum wage in the public sector at liveable levels,” Quetua explained.

With the consistently soaring inflation rate, the group said that salary grade 1 employees deserve to receive a minimum salary of P33,000 monthly to afford the necessities for their families.

ACT added that the pay of entry-level teachers should be upgraded to salary grade 15, from the current salary grade 11, to be at par with public sector nurses whose qualifications are comparable to professionals.

“There is a great need to overhaul the salary scheme in government, which have long been inequitable, as the past five SSLs only succeeded in depressing the pay of rank-and file employees and bloating the salaries of high-ranking officials,” Quetua said.

“It is abominable shameful for the government being the largest employer in the country to uphold and implement an unjust and exploitative salary scheme,” he added.