Additional benefits for teachers pushed

Additional benefits for teachers pushed

The Department of Education (DepEd) is taking significant steps to advocate for “additional benefits” for teachers. This move comes in the wake of a proposed bill that aims to increase teachers’ monthly salaries to P50,000. The bill, presented by the Makabayan bloc, has sparked discussions on improving the financial welfare of educators across the country.

DepEd’s spokesperson, Michael Poa, highlighted that the department had already initiated a study with the World Bank to explore the feasibility of a salary increase. This study isn’t just focused on whether salaries should be raised but also aims to determine the ideal rate of increase over the coming years in relation to inflation rates.

On February 13, the three-member Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives introduced a bill that seeks to significantly raise the starting salary for public school teachers from P27,000 to P50,000 monthly. The authors of House Bill 9920, including Representatives France Castro, Arlene Brosas, and Raoul Manuel, argue that this increase is necessary to bridge the gap between teachers’ salaries and the cost of living. They propose that teachers’ salaries be adjusted annually to match the living costs.

This salary hike is intended to provide teachers with compensation that is comparable to that of police and military personnel, whose salaries were doubled during the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte. The bill also aims to address the disparities highlighted by the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, which has been criticized for not adequately addressing the wage gap between different levels of government employees.

While DepEd has not commented on whether Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte supports the bill, Poa assured that DepEd would actively participate in congressional deliberations and advocate for additional teacher benefits. The department is awaiting the results of the World Bank study, which will inform its stance on the proposed salary increase.

The education sector has warmly received the filing of House Bill 9920, along with the approval of Senate Bill 2534, which seeks a P100 daily minimum wage increase for private sector workers. The Education Workers’ Alliance for Greater and Equitable Salary (Educ WAGES) views these developments as timely, given the sharp decline in household consumption rates. The group emphasizes that the current entry-level pay and daily minimum wage do not meet the recommended family living wage, underscoring the need for urgent legislative action to improve the financial situation of teachers and staff.

As discussions continue, the focus remains on ensuring that teachers receive fair compensation that reflects their invaluable contribution to education and society.