Teachers urge Marcos to fulfill 'promise' on salary increase

A group on Monday, May 27, once again called on President Marcos to fulfill his “promise” of increasing the salaries of public school teachers as the end of the school year (SY) for 2023-2024 approaches.


"The school year is almost over, but the pay increase anticipated for 2024 has yet to materialize,” said Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairperson Benjo Basas. “It's a small amount, but the government's action is taking so long," he added.

Basas is referring to the supposed salary adjustment for fiscal year 2024, as confirmed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last year and assured earlier this month.

DBM officials, during a meeting with TDC leaders last October, “hinted” at a budgetary allocation of more than P16 billion for government employees—including teachers—but the amount would only range from two to eight percent of the current salaries.

"This fiscal year 2024 is the second year that the Marcos administration has planned the national budget, but there is still no clear plan to raise teacher and other employee salaries,” Basas said.

“It appears to fall far short of the promises he made during the previous election campaign,” he added.

Honoring promises

TDC said that during the campaign for the presidency in 2022, Marcos “promised” that if he wins, he will augment the salaries of teachers and provide free training for them and scholarship grants for their children.

Basas also mentioned that Marcos filed bills that would upgrade the salaries of public school teachers from salary grade 11 to 15 under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) in the 15th and 16th Congresses. The nominal value of this grade is currently P36,616.

"Now that he is the most powerful person in the country, he can expedite the enactment of a substantial increase in our public school teachers' salaries. He could choose a bill and certify it as urgent," Basas said.

The TDC has been advocating for the upgrading of teachers' entry-level salaries to at least salary grade 15 or the enactment of the P15,000 across-the-board increase for teachers, or any other increase that would significantly enhance the living conditions of teachers and their families.

For the group, the existing salary scheme, the Salary Standardization Law (SSL), since 1989 has “failed” to fairly compensate public mentors, especially those in lower positions.

“The said law places teachers at salary grade 11, the lowest among government professionals,” TDC said.

Basas said that his group is currently working with some legislators to draft bills for a teachers' compensation package that aligns teachers' salaries with the standards outlined in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670) rather than the SSL.

Amid these efforts, TDC called on Marcos, as well as Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte, to “honor their commitments and deliver on their promises.”

Basas said his group is open to having a dialogue with the President so that “he can hear the teachers' sentiments directly.”

"If he has time for us, and if he wants to prove that teachers and the education sector are among his priorities, as he stated during the campaign period, he should talk to the teachers and fulfill his promise," Basas said.