A re-elected lawmaker has appealed to his colleagues in Congress to support the country’s public school teachers by increasing their basic monthly salary to at least P36,000.
Rep. Raul Del Mar (1st District, Cebu City) said public school teachers are among underpaid workers in society. Despite the fact that they are heralded as molders of children’s future, they receive only less than twenty thousand a month each for their basic salary.
Del Mar filed a bill that seeks to upgrade the salary grade level of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools from the present Salary Grade (SG) 11 to SG 20.
“Teachers are considered to be the prime mover of the education system; hence, the government needs to give priority to their interest and welfare,” Del Mar said.
Del Mar said that, based on the third phase of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL 3), public school educators currently receive a minimum salary of P18,549. Government employees under SG 20, meanwhile, have a basic monthly rate of P36,567.
Del Mar pushed for the measure, citing Article XIV, Section 4  of the Constitution, which provides that the State recognizes the complementary roles of public and private institutions in the educational system and shall exercise reasonable supervision and regulation of education institutions.
Article XIV, Section 5  of the Constitution also states that The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through the adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.
Under Del Mar’s measure, the upgrade in the teachers’ salary shall be adjusted in accordance with their qualifications and length of service and shall not be prejudiced by across the board adjustments.
The bill mandates the national government to allocate the necessary amount to fund the salary increase of educators, provided, that the salary increase of public school teachers shall take priority over other non-educational and non-agricultural budgetary allocations.
It also requires the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediately come up with the specific programmed budget needed to cover the expenses for the upgrading in salary levels for all the corresponding teacher plantilla positions over a period of five years.
This is to allow the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to make the necessary budgetary adjustments to facilitate the smooth implementation of the proposed law.
“To give meaning to the spirit and intent of the above mentioned constitutional provisions, there has been a compelling need to upgrade the salary grade of our public school teachers,” Del Mar said.