Under the Senate Bill No. 56, public school teachers and all government employees will enjoy an increase of their Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) to P5,000.
House Bill 356 (HB00056) entitled INCREASING THE MINIMUM SALARIES OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND AUGMENTING THE PERSONNEL ECONOMIC RELIEF ALLOWANCE was introduced by ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. ANTONIO L. TINIO and Rep. FRANCISCA L. CASTRO, Gabriela Women's Party Rep. EMMI A. DE JESUS, BAYAN MUNA Party-List Rep. CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, Gabriela Women's Party Rep. ARLENE D. BROSAS, ANAKPAWIS Party-List Rep. ARIEL B. CASILAO, and KABATAAN Party-List Rep. SARAH JANE L. ELAGO.
This bill aims to increase the minimum monthly salaries of public school teachers and all other government employees. It also aims to increase the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance granted to all government employees to P5,000.
The enactment of this proposal is urgent despite the issuance of Executive Order 201, series of 2016, or the latest adjustment to the Salary Standardization Law. The paltry salary increases it provides to lower- and middle-level government employees are insufficient to provide a decent standard of living for their families. For instance, entry-level (Salary Grade 1) positions in government, such as for Clerk and Utility Worker, have been given an increase of P 2,068 (from P9,000 to P 11,068), spread out in equal tranches over the next four years. This is equivalent to a monthly salary increase of P 517, or a mere P23.50 per day.
Teachers and nurses, who share an entry-level position of Salary Grade 11, have been given an increase of P2,205 monthly (from P 18,549 to P20,754), likewise spread out over four years. This means a monthly increase of P551.25, or a mere P25.05 per day. Rank-and-file police, soldiers, and other uniformed personnel are given mere provisional allowances of PI,457 after four years (an average of P364.25 per year) to augment their finances by P 16.56 per day.
Therefore, the latest adjustment to the Salary Standardization Law has failed to fulfill the long-standing aspiration of rank-and-file personnel—who comprise the vast majority of the government bureaucracy—for decent salaries that will afford them a humane standard of living.
As for teachers and non-teaching employees in both basic and higher education in particular, government also still owes an unfulfilled mandate. The 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the State to "assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment" (Article XIV, Section 5 (5)). In addition, Republic Act No. 4670, or The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, states that salaries of public school teachers "shall compare favorably with those paid in occupations requiring equivalent or similar qualifications, training and abilities,' that "they shall be such as to insure teachers a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families" (Section 15 (a) and (b)).Another proposal to the end that government will fulfill these mandates is to increase the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA). This benefit was first granted to government employees in 1991, in the amount of P500 per month. Joint Resolution 4, issued by the House of Representatives and the Senate on 17 June 2009, mandated that the P 1,500 Additional Compensation and the P500 PERA, with a combined total of P 2,000, shall thenceforth be collectively referred to as PERA.
An increase in the PERA will offer government personnel more substantial relief from erosion of purchasing power of public sector salaries and wages. For this purpose, this bill proposes that the PERA be increased to P5,000.
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