Teachers from San Diego Elementary School in Batasan, Quezon City form a "30K" figure as they demand P30,000 base salary for public teachers last Oct, 2, 2019.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Teachers' groups hope Duterte delivers on pay hike promise
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 7, 2019 - 1:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — Manila-based teachers marched Monday from Derham Street to Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay as part of their continued call for a more substantial salary increase.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers found Duterte's recent guarantee of a pay hike "unsatisfactory," ACT-NCR Chairperson Joselyn Martinez said in a press release. 

The group called for clarity from Malacañang in the face of what they said is another vague and empty promise from Duterte who mentioned in passing a pay hike of "35 or more."

“Thirty-five percent is not enough to allow us a decent living and dignify our profession. It certainly will not placate teachers who have been reasonably restless in the demand for the Duterte administration to grant us a 30K basic pay. We teachers deserve no less from this government and we are committed to fighting for what is due us,” pressed Martinez.

READ: Duterte vows hike in teachers' salaries coming

A Teacher I, or entry-level teacher, earns P20,754 a month. A 35-percent increase would mean a monthly salary of P28,017.9.

Similarly, the Teachers' Dignity Coalition asserted on their Facebook page that this promise "should be clarified" because "there is no indication that both Houses of Congress [are] willing to do such."

According to ACT, the only indication of a possible increase is the House-approved 2020 budget, which included an allocation of P31 billion for the salary increase of over 1.5 million government employees, amounting to a raise of no more than P2,000 per month.

This comes in the wake of Duterte's statement over the weekend that a salary increase is, in fact, in the works. "I think it’s about — the last time they were discussing was about 35 (percent) but it could be more, I do not know," the president said. 

'Concrete, clear-cut, tangible' measure needed

ACT asserted that such an ambiguous phrasing would do nothing to appease teacher groups' "growing restlessness’ amid the lack of a substantial pay hike."

“What we need from the president is not another empty promise but a concrete, clear-cut, and tangible measure with a definite timeline for a substantial increase for teachers and all other civilian employees,” asserted Martinez.

The chief executive was fresh off his five-day trip to Russia when he was asked by reporters about the issue of salary hikes. "It’s coming, their increases. But not doubled. There are a lot more teachers, my God. But it is forthcoming," the president said in his response to reporters in Davao City. 

RELATED: DILG: Cops should get priority in any salary hike

The president, however, opted not to delve too deep into details. "If I give you the timeline then I could not make it on the deadline, I have to explain more than what is expected of government," he said. 

"We want to remind him of his campaign promise four years ago that the P10,000 across-the-board increase for salaries of will be given, this is more equitable and realistic than any other proposals," TDC said. They also called for the president to honor his numerous instances of expressed willingness to "sit in a dialogue with teachers' groups."

Teacher groups have long been asserting the need for, citing that their current circumstances were no longer sufficient in providing for their needs and those of their families. 

"[N]o one could truly say that teachers are given high status where their salaries, benefits, working conditions, and socio-political situation attest to the contrary," Rep. France Castro (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) said in her privilege speech during the 18th congress.

DepEd this year celebrated National Teacher's Month from September 5 to October 5, with the last day falling on National Teacher's Day. This year's celebration marched on with the theme "Gurong Pilipino: Handa sa Makabagong Pagbabago."

For their part, the ACT on Saturday staged a series of human "30k" formations to call for a Php30,000 salary for Teacher 1 positions. 

"Until we see an approved ample budget allocation for a substantial pay hike, the government can expect bigger protests and sustained effort from us,” Martinez finished.

"It's better to say that it's forthcoming. I said they would get an increase. That I’m very sure of," Duterte pressed. 

"Masayang-masaya po ang mga guro sa sinabi ng pangulo, pero baka umasa na naman kami nang husto at bandang huli ay mabigo," TDC said in their statement. 

(The teachers are very happy about what the president said, but we might just be putting our hopes on something that, in the end, will not happen.)

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