Group slams 'snail-paced' study on teachers' salary increase

Marcos, Duterte urged to leverage their influence to enact a 'significant' pay hike for teachers

A group has criticized the "very slow" progress in studying the salary increase for teachers, reiterating its call for the government to prioritize their welfare amid challenges in the education sector.


"When it comes to the welfare of teachers, the government decides very slowly," Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairperson Benjo Basas said in Filipino.

TDC's statement comes after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced that the scheme for salary increases for civil servants is still under study and will be released within the first half of the year.

Basas noted that despite knowing the increase would be very small, teachers are anticipating the increase this year, citing the agency's public pronouncements last year and those confirmed by officials during a dialogue with DBM and TDC leaders in October 2023.

TDC said the DBM hinted at a budgetary allocation of more than P16 billion for government employees, including teachers.

According to the meeting, the increase, which amounts to two to eight percent of the current salaries, will take effect within the first to second quarter of 2024.

"Salary increases for us are elusive, and if there is one, it is very small and often delayed," Basas said. "This only reflects the government's treatment of our teachers—small, low, and not a priority," he added.

Letter to DBM

TDC shared that on March 25, 2024, it wrote a letter to DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman asking for a status update on the said salary increase, stressing the veracity of the increase, the amount, and the timeline.

The DBM, through Undersecretary Goddes Hope Libiran on April 15, 2024, responded with an open-ended statement: “The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) are currently collaborating on the engagement of a consulting firm to conduct a Compensation and Benefits Study in the Public Sector, with the end in view of setting a competitive, financially sustainable, and equitable compensation package for government personnel, including that of teachers.”

Basas noted that the study may have started as early as 2022 because, in many instances, even Department of Education (DepEd) officials referred to it during previous dialogues.

“The DBM also stated that, pending the outcome of such a study, the agency is yet to determine the rate of increase and its impact on the salaries of government employees, including teachers,” TDC said.

What’s taking so long?

"We don't know where the experts and economists hired by the DBM are struggling to study the situation of teachers and employees," Basas said.

TDC pointed out that the factors in determining salaries are “simple” — the job each employee performs and the economic situation.

Basas said the government should recognize the value of teachers’ work and ensure that they and their families can live with dignity.

“Let's not always use the government's lack of capacity as an excuse because they spend on many things that are not really essential every year,” Basas explained.

The TDC has been calling for the upgrade of teachers' entry-level salaries to at least salary grade 15, or to enact the long-demanded P10,000 across-the-board increase.

The group argued that the existing salary scheme, the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) since 1989, has failed to provide substantial compensation for public mentors, especially those in lower positions.

The said law places teachers at salary grade 11, the lowest among government professionals. The SSL's latest version is the SSL V (RA 11466), enacted during President Rodrigo Duterte's time.

Honor your commitments

Given this, Basas recounted instances where even President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., during his senatorial tenure, championed salary upgrades for teachers in the 15th and 16th Congresses.

TDC called on the President, as well as Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte, to “honor these commitments” and leverage their current influence to enact significant salary increases.

"If President Bongbong Marcos was serious about his bills when he was still a senator, then this is his chance to fulfill them,” Basas said.

TDC noted that Marcos has “all the influence” in the government—from DepEd to Congress. “They should prove that they can fulfill their promise,” he added,

While the TDC is supportive of the many versions of the salary increase proposal in Congress, specifically the ones that seek to raise the entry-level position of the teachers to salary grade 15 or the provision of P10,000 in additional compensation, the group is currently working with some legislators to draft bills for a teachers' compensation package that emphasizes aligning teachers' salaries with the standards outlined in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670) rather than the SSL.