Several senators have joined the mounting call to increase the salaries of public school teachers in recognition of the critical role they play in the lives of the youth and in nation-building.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri vowed to prioritize bills that propose pay hikes and additional grants for teachers that have been filed in the Senate.

“Our teachers deserve more than we have managed to give them such as salary increases in line with the Salary Standardization Law in 2015 mandating a series of increases in four years that ends this year,” Zubiri said.

“Government has promised to institute another round of government pay hikes. We will initiate the push for pay hikes in the Senate,” the veteran legislator added.

The seasoned lawmaker noted that he particularly filed Senate Bill No. 104, which seeks a P10,000 monthly additional pay, a grant of bigger chalk allowance, P1,000 annual medical check-up allowance and giving the long-delayed yet much-deserved Magna Carta benefits.

The senator said the chamber would help President Rodrigo Duterte find the sources of funds to fulfill his promise during the State of the Nation Address to double public school teachers’ salaries, as that would entail P343.7 billion.

The proposed 2020 budget of the Department of Education for salaries is P417.5 billion.

“By paying our teachers bigger salaries, we shall graduate from our sad reputation in the past as an ‘exporter’ of teachers.”

“By paying our teachers bigger salaries, we shall graduate from our sad reputation in the past as an ‘exporter’ of teachers. They will now have a strong reason to stay as teachers in the country and not leave their families,” he said.

Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, said the adjustment in the salary grades of teachers is justified considering the rising cost of living in the country.

Angara filed Senate Bill 131, which calls for an increase in the starting pay of public school teachers, from the present Salary Grade 11 (P20,754) to Salary Grade 19 (P45,269) based on the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law.

The veteran legislator highlighted that a corresponding upgrade in the salaries of the rest of the teachers above the entry-level would also be implemented.

The upgrade in salaries will be done over a period of five years so that the Department of Budget and Management will be able to make the necessary budgetary adjustments.

“Sometimes we forget just how important the role teachers play in our lives. We take for granted the hard work that they put in to craft our children into productive members of society,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

“Without our teachers, parents would have to make great sacrifices to educate their children and many of them can’t afford to do this. That is why we should at the very least raise their salaries to a level that will recognize their value,” the senator added.

Senator Pia Cayetano, on the other hand, said the pay hike is the “best affirmation” of government’s high regard for the country’s educators and their contributions to nation-building.

Cayetano authored Senate Bill No. 70, which proposes additional support and compensation for educators.

The veteran legislator said the salary hike shall be granted over three years in three tranches, starting with a P4,000 monthly pay hike in the first year, an additional P3,000 per month in the second year, and a final increment of P3,000 per month in the third year.

“Raising the compensation of teachers affirms the dignity of the teaching profession.”

“Raising the compensation of teachers affirms the dignity of the teaching profession. This will not only improve their lives but also inspire them to further improve,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

“We have so many hardworking teachers who deserve more support. Also, we can still do better to make the teaching profession more attractive to the best and brightest,” the lady senator added.

She pointed out that empowering teachers to successfully fulfill their role in society is part of the country’s commitments to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 4 of the SDGs particularly states that by 2030, the supply of qualified teachers in the country should have substantially increased. 

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