Teachers’ welfare a priority, DepEd insists
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Under fire over its supposed lack of support for the clamor to increase the salary of teachers, the Department of Education (DepEd) last week repeatedly insisted that employee welfare has been its priority since 2016.

The DepEd noted that the expansion of the scope of employee welfare is part of the 10-point agenda of Education Secretary Leonor Briones when she assumed post in 2016.

“Cognizant that the increased compensation and benefit are just one of the many improvements that the department is determined to provide, the secretary remains committed to promoting and improving the living and working conditions of both teaching and non-teaching personnel,” the agency said in a statement.

“As she continuously works to realize an equitable and sustainable salary increase that will benefit the department’s 843,917 teachers, the education chief has already pushed for initiatives and reforms that resulted in additional compensation and benefit for teachers,” it added.

The DepEd noted that an entry-level public school teacher receives over P30,000 a month if the bonuses and allowances are taken into account.

Basic salary has also doubled from P9,466 per month in 2000 to the present P20,754.

But the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) scored the DepEd for supposedly misleading with its monthly compensation figures, noting that the computation even includes mandatory contributions and allowances.

“The DepEd arrived at such an illusory figure by adding our salary and all other benefits and allowances teachers receive in a year, then dividing it by 12. Even their contributions to PhilHealth and the like as employer were included,” ACT national chair Jocelyn Martinez said.

“We can’t stress it enough – teachers deserve a chance at a decent living. We are people, too, who have our own families to support. We hope the  DepEd will finally understand this and stand behind us as we continue to clamor for just compensation,” Martinez added.

The ACT also noted that the figures released by the DepEd highlighted the declining increase provided to teachers.

It noted that the first salary standardization provided an increase of P5,503 for the  period of 1994 to 1997, followed by P3,421 for 2005 to 2008, P6,523 for 2009 to 2012, and P2,205 for 2016 to 2019.

“These data show the diminishing value given by the government to teachers. It refuses to provide teachers and ordinary rank-and-file government employees a chance at a decent living,” Martinez said.

“As education secretary, and as an advocate, I am committed to the policy to promote and improve the social and economic status of public school teachers, their living and working conditions, and their terms of employment. I am in full support of the President’s pronouncement to raise the salaries of teachers,” Briones said.

“The next salary increase of public school teachers will come. As secretary of education and member of the Cabinet, it is my duty to help make sure that such salary increase is equitable, within the government’s means and sustainable,” she added.

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