Teachersâ salary way below Asean average
Gatchalian earlier this week filed a bill seeking to increase the salaries of public school teachers in elementary and secondary schools with the ranks of Teacher I, Teacher II and Teacher III.
Michael Varcas

Teachers’ salary way below Asean average

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The salaries of public school teachers in the country must be raised to make them at par with the average teachers’ salary in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday.

Gatchalian earlier this week filed a bill seeking to increase the salaries of public school teachers in elementary and secondary schools with the ranks of Teacher I, Teacher II and Teacher III.

Senate Bill No. 178 increases the salary grade of public school teachers currently classified as Teacher I, Teacher II and Teacher III from Salary Grade (SG) 11, 12 and 13, respectively to Salary Grade 13, 14 and 15.

“Inadequate take-home pay for a majority of public school teachers has been a common complaint which is said to have led to their increased indebtedness,” Gatchalian said in filing the bill.

“The logical argument that follows is that teachers take out loans because of their low pay and in time accumulate too much debt. And to remedy this problem, the obvious request has been to increase the starting pay of public school teachers,” he said.

A comparison of salaries of teachers from the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam showed the country is third to the last in terms of annual salaries of teachers – above only Malaysia and Vietnam and below the ASEAN average, Gatchalian said.

The senator added the average annual teachers’ salary in the Philippines, inclusive of benefits, is $18,160 while the ASEAN average is at $27,742.

Brunei currently tops the list with an annual teacher salary of $55,263, while Vietnam is at the bottom with $3,877.

“If our bill becomes law, it would increase the average annual teachers’ salary in the Philippines to $21,547, closer to the ASEAN average,” he said.

Prioritize teachers’ concerns

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) yesterday urged newly designated Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) officer-in-charge Rolando Macasaet to prioritize the concerns of public school teachers on their contributions.

Criticizing the GSIS policy penalizing teachers who missed their contributions, the group stressed that it was not their fault that the system failed to automatically deduct these from their salaries.

“We would like to reiterate that this GSIS, instead of helping members, has continuously worsened the financial burden of many public school teachers because of its unfair policies,” TDC chairman Benjo Basas said.

“The Department of Education and the GSIS were tasked to ensure the payment through a system which teachers have nothing to do with,” he added.

Some teachers were imposed penalties after the system failed to deduct their GSIS contributions.

The TDC noted that the GSIS refused to waive the penalties and instead blamed the teachers during previous dialogues and meetings.

“Last year, we sent formal appeal to all members of the GSIS board, including then chairman Macasaet, to waive the so-called arrearages and penalties which were incurred because of the system’s failure, particularly the lapses on the part of either the DepEd or the GSIS,” said Basas.

ACT thanks lawmakers

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) thanked lawmakers who had filed bills seeking salary increase for teachers. 

“We’re glad to hear that measures are being taken in Congress towards the realization of our pay hike call,” ACT chair Jocelyn Martinez said.

The ACT said lawmakers who proposed salary increase include Reps. France Castro (ACT Teachers), Alfred Vargas (Quezon City) and Sens. Sonny Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Nancy Binay and Gatchalian. – With Janvic Mateo, Artemio Dumlao

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