June 12, 2008
Cayetano: The Senate approval of the bill increasing teachers' salary
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture lauded the Senate's passing on second reading of a bill that seeks to provide additional support and compensation for educators in basic education.
"This move of the Senate is a big step forward in showing that we are serious in improving and modernizing Philippine education," said Cayetano who sponsored Senate Bill No. 2408 under Committee Report No. 77 before Congress went on a sine die adjournment last Wednesday.
This measure is authored by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano along with Senate President Manny Villar Senators Edgardo Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Loren Legarda, Ramon Revilla Jr., Miriam Defensor Santiago and the Committees on Education, Arts and Culture.
The bill, once enacted into law, will eventually provide an additional Php9,000.00 increase in the monthly salaries of public school teachers as well as non-teaching personnel. The bill proposes to give salary increase in three equal tranches of Php3,000.00 per year until the P9,000.00 increase is fully received by each teacher.
In addition to this additional compensation, additional support in the form of a medical allowance of at least Php1,000,00 will be given for check-ups and other medical expenses and an annual Magna Carta bonus to answer for the unpaid benefits due to the teachers under Republic Act No. 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers Act.
Under this bill, local government units through the school boards are also given the authority to provide additional allowance to teachers and non-teaching staff. The grant of this authority, however, shall not in any way prejudice the required budgetary allocation to address the school building and classroom shortage in the area.
"In the midst of all previous salary increases for government employees, the minimum salary grade of public school teachers remains at salary grade 10 which is equivalent to Php10,933.00 only. With the poverty level officially set at P10,00.00 at the NCR region, this has the effect of just keeping them within the poverty threshold.," Cayetano added.
Yesterday's interpellations on the proposed measure also revealed other problems of basic education apart from underpaid salaries of public schoolteachers. These include issues concerning appropriate working hours for teachers, payment for overtime work and hiring of competent teachers, among others. But Senator Cayetano gave the assurance that the Committee will seriously look into these problems and propose plausible solutions in the very near future.
"This is just the first step in our journey to improve the quality of Philippine education. We shall incorporate more concrete proposals to improve to alleviate the plight of our public school teachers in our amendments to the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers," Cayetano said.
"The Committee on Education will ask President Arroyo to consider this bill a priority measure and include this in her SONA (State of the Nation Address) as a manifestation of her support to improve the social and economic conditions of our public school teachers," Cayetano ended.
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