Teachers hold National Teachers' Day of Action for higher pay

This article is available in Pilipino

Teachers led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines collectively lit candles and torches during a protest in Quezon City on April 26 for the National Day of Action to demand a salary increase. A candle lighting ceremony was also held in Bacolod City. ACT unions also held activities in their respective schools nationwide. This is part of the preparation for the upcoming marking of International Labor Day on May 1.

“Today is the National Day of Action for teachers and employees to assert the longstanding call for decent and living wages. Nine out of ten teachers and most employees are not paid a living wage. This is proof of the government’s continued neglect of the sector,” said Vladimer Quetua, ACT Chairperson.

The teacher-leader pointed out that the declining quality of education in the Philippines reflects the destitute condition of teachers and workers in the education sector. In the study of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018, the Philippines was the weakest in reading comprehension among the 79 countries that participated in the study. Meanwhile, it ranked 78th in Science and Math.

Teachers and those in the education sector, led by ACT, have long been calling for an entry salary of ₱50,000 and ₱33,000 for all government employees. “We don’t believe the government can’t fund it,” Quetua said.

Among public employees, teachers are one with the lowest salaries. Those in Teacher 1 level receive only ₱27,000 per month, while police personnel on the same position (POI) get ₱29,668 and Nurse 1 positions get P36,619.

The Marcos regime’s squandering of funds this year to railroad charter change or chacha is proof that his administration has money. In addition to this, Quetua says the billions of pesos are now being spent for the war games being conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and US military forces in the country. “[All these] instead of addressing the demand for fair and decent wages and salaries and allocating adequate funds for education and social services,” he stressed.

Apart from low wages, the provision of teachers’ benefits is also constantly delayed due to the slow and incompetent response of the Department of Education.

Meanwhile, the number of classroom shortages remains at 159,000 and the number of teachers shortage remains at 147,000.

At the end of the program, ACT Philippines announced that all their unions and organizations will join the national protest this coming May 1. The education sector will unite to demand the right to decent and living wages and salaries, it said.

AB: Teachers hold National Teachers' Day of Action for higher pay