Senator Sonny Angara said the government should pay teachers more if it wants to improve the quality of education in Philippine public schools.
“Quality education begins with quality teachers. And to have good quality teachers in our public schools we need to pay them well,” Angara said, as he reiterated his appeal to the government to give teachers a reasonable pay increase.
He added: “I am sure money is not the overriding motivation for educators because many of them are dedicated and they love what they are doing. But teachers are not martyrs; they should be valued by society and compensated accordingly.”
Angara issued the statement while campaigning in Lucena City with fellow senatorial candidates of Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the regional political party chaired by presidential daughter and Davao City Sara Duterte.
Lucena City has a total of 157 elementary and secondary educational institutions–88 elementary schools, 38 junior high schools and 31 senior high schools– 63 of these are public schools, making it one of the educational centers in Southern Tagalog.
Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that his promise to increase the take-home pay of public school teachers could finally happen this year. He, however, did not mention how much the increase would be, but it was definitely on top of the fourth and last tranche of salary increases for all government workers to be implemented this year.
Last year, the President also vowed to raise the salary of teachers after the basic pay of military and police personnel had been doubled.
Angara expressed hope that the teacher’s pay adjustment would be equivalent or close to the rate he has been pushing since 2016 when he filed Senate Bill 135.
Under the bill, the minimum salary grade level of teachers will be adjusted from Salary Grade 11 to 19, or double their current monthly base pay of P20,179 to P42,099.
According to Angara, the relatively low pay for teachers discourages many from entering the profession, and the pay hike would attract more qualified and competent educators to teach in public schools.
He also said that dedicated teachers in public schools, especially those experiencing teacher shortages, would not be compelled to leave the classroom in order to support their family.
“Our teachers are considered to be the heart of the educational system. The government needs to give priority to their welfare and interests,” Angara pointed out.
“Definitely, this would lead to an improvement in the quality of education in our public school system,” he added.