Senator Bam Aquino on Thursday criticized the government’s pronouncement that public-school teachers and other government workers will gain their salary hike not before 2020, saying many of them are suffering in debt amounting to P171 billion.
The Senator said that if the government can do it for policemen, they can also do it for teachers.
“If we can do it for policemen, we must also increase pay for our teachers, nurses and other government workers,” Aquino said, referring to the recent salary hike given to members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Our teachers play a major role in ensuring our graduates are job-ready and poised for success. By educating our youth, teachers can influence the fate of the country,” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to look for ways to increase teachers’ salaries. However, they will have to wait until 2020.
“The entire cabinet affirmed the President’s directive that we will continue to look for ways and means to effect and increase the teachers’ salary but beginning 2020, not 2019,” Roque said in a news conference.
The Senator said that the government needs to prioritize the teachers’ salary hike, saying they cannot afford to wait until 2020 as they are experiencing personal burdens, including debt.
According to Aquino, the P171 billion debt of teachers from legitimate lending institutions is due to a confluence of factors, including inadequate wages and delayed salary, while some use the money to cover the cost of their teaching materials.
“Tulungan naman natin ang ating mga guro, nars at iba pang government workers na mapagaan ang kanilang buhay sa pamamagitan ng dagdag na suweldo, lalo na ngayong tumataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin [Let’s help the teachers, nurse, and the other government workers to aid their needs by salary increase, especially now that the prices of commodities are also increasing],” Aquino said.
The Senator filed Senate Bill No. 704 or the Basic Education Teachers Pay Increase Act, which provides a P10,000 across the board increase to all teaching and non-teaching personnel of the country’s public-school system. He also filed Senate Bill No. 916 or the Comprehensive Nursing Act, and Senate Bill No. 663 or the Nurse in Every Public-School bill.