Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on Wednesday figured in a heated debate with Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio over the proposed 2015 Salary Standardization Law (SSL).
During the House appropriations committee hearing on the proposed House Bill No. 6268, Tinio opposed the bill, saying it would result in an increase of only P551 per month in the salaries of teachers after the SSL implementation.
Tinio said the increase of teachers and nurses’ salary to P20,754 from the current pay of P18,549 amounted to a raise of only 11.9 percent, far from the government’s claim that the compensation was hiked by 45 percent on a weighted average.
“I don’t think the presentation is complete 11.89 percent is only salary increase … Ilagay naman natin ito sa katotohanan,” Abad said.
Abad said government employees would receive a higher take-home pay because of the additional bonuses, which were tax-exempt.
Abad said Tinio’s presentation was “biased” toward those from the lower salary grade levels.
“Let’s be factual about this. May lumapit na isang teacher sa akin, parang galit, bakit daw P500 lang increase namin. That is a wrong figure,” Abad said.
“This is not wrong. This is precise and factually correct. We’re talking about actual increase sa basic pay. I am not denying, totoo po sinabi ni Secretary Abad na mayroon pang bonuses,” Tinio said.
Tinio then said it was the budget department that was spreading misinformation, referring to a DBM press release entitled “Pay of teachers, nurses to double under SSL 2015.” The title was later revised to say “Salaries of public school teachers and nurses to increase.”
“This is 100 percent accurate description of salary increase. That is a fact, wala po tayong misinformation pinapakita dito,” Tinio said.
“If it’s misleading information, it’s not this representation. Bulgaran na, it’s the press release saying the pay of teachers and nurses to double under SSL 2015. Ang dating ang sweldo namin dodoble, so magiging P30,000,” Tinio said.
Abad said the press statement was intended to say teachers and nurses’ salaries under the SSL would amount to more than double the pay of their private sector counterparts.
In a previous press release, Abad said the positions of Teacher I to III in the private sector were paid P13,135.
Meanwhile, the government currently pays P19,218 or 146 percent of the market for Teacher I position, P20,660 or 157 percent of the market for Teacher II positions, and P22,209 or 169 percent of the market for Teacher III positions.
Abad said SSL 2015 would increase Teacher I salary to P20,754; Teacher II to P22,938; and Teacher III to P25,232, or more than double the pay of their private sector counterparts.
“If you read the line, compared to the private sector, it is really true, as I said earlier, Teacher I, it’s going to be 216 percent of the market, teacher two is going to be 234 percent, teacher three is 256 percent. That’s more than double,” Abad said.
Members of the militant teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers held a lightning rally during the hearing before the committee approved unanimously the SSL 2015.
“Sahod, hindi benepisyo!” the activists said before they were escorted out of the room by security.
The SSL standardizes the salary increases of government workers in four tranches from 2015 to 2019.
The House panel approved the measure on second reading on Wednesday, just days after President Benigno Aquino III endorsed the SSL 2015 to Congress on Monday. The President backed the bill after the budget department conducted a study on the merits of adjusting the salary grades of public sector employees closer to the pay of their private sector counterparts. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/RC