Teachers Await Promised Salary Increase by July

As the end of the second quarter nears, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) is urging the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to fulfill its promise of a much-awaited salary increase for government workers in fiscal year 2024. The DBM had set a deadline to complete and announce the study by the end of June, but no updates have been provided as of June 29.

“Tomorrow is the last day of June, and we have yet to hear any news about the 2024 salary increase,” said Benjo Basas, TDC National Chairperson. He noted that the DBM’s timeline for the first and second quarters has passed without any announcement.

The DBM and the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) hired a consultancy firm to conduct the study for the planned salary adjustment. “In October 2023, DBM officials mentioned during a meeting that a budget for the salary increase was allocated. However, the increase would only range from 2 to 8% of current salaries,” Basas added.

The last salary increase for government workers was under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 5, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte. This law increased the basic entry-level salaries of public school teachers to P27,000 through a phased implementation from 2020 to 2023.

“This delay shows that the welfare of teachers and government employees is not a priority. It has taken too long to conduct a study for such a small increase, ignoring larger proposals pending in Congress,” Basas expressed.

The TDC has been pushing for significant salary increases, such as upgrading entry-level salaries to at least salary grade 15 and enacting a P15,000 across-the-board increase for teachers. They argue that the current salary scheme, implemented since 1989, fails to provide adequate compensation.

“The Salary Standardization Law does not fairly compensate our teachers, especially those in lower positions. Our salaries are the lowest among professionals in government service,” Basas stated.

The TDC is collaborating with legislators to draft bills for a teachers’ compensation package that aligns with the standards in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), rather than the SSL.

Basas also reminded President Bongbong Marcos of his campaign promise in 2022 to increase teachers’ salaries, provide free training, and offer scholarship grants for their children. “Now that he is president, he can expedite a substantial salary increase for public school teachers. If he is serious, he can certify the proposals as urgent,” Basas concluded.