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Hopes up as we celebrate World Teachers’ Day

 

THE Philippines today joins the rest of the world in remembering and honoring its teachers on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day. The day commemorates the signing of the 1966 recommendation of the UN Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Labor Organization (ILO) on standards on policy, education and training, employment, and working conditions of teachers. It focuses on “appreciat­ing, assessing, and improving the educators of the world.”

Teachers in the Philippines occupy a special place in the hearts of the people, as they are the first ones outside the home who mold the minds of children in the public school system. We value our system of free public education which seeks to reach out to every child in the country up to high school, and we are now seeking to expand the system to include college education through our state universities and colleges.

Our teachers have long been petitioning the government on a number of causes. Only last month, the Department of Education (DepEd), in their behalf, asked the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to condone the interests and penalties on loans on their monthly salaries, to help them update and settle their past due accounts. Earlier, last February, the Teachers Dignity Coalition asked for free medical check-up and other forms of medical assistance which, the teachers said, they would appreciate much more than a proposal for discounts on funeral services for their families.

But the foremost appeal is for increases in their salaries, especially after they saw the salaries of the nation’s uniformed personnel – soldiers and policemen – doubled by the Duterte administration after Congress approved a resolution for the salary increases. This had been a key campaign promise of President Duterte and the new administra­tion succeeded in carrying it out on the first day of this year.

The nation’s teachers, along with the rest of the government personnel, will have to wait until 2019 to get any increase from the Salary Standardization Law enacted in 2015. The amount of R24 billion for the third tranch for the increases is included in the budget for release in 2019. It will be followed by a final tranch in 2020.

After the country’s soldiers and policemen received their pay hikes starting last January, Malacañang assured the teachers that they would be the next beneficiaries and that they would surely get their raises within the term of President Duterte which ends in 2022.

We have not heard about any new development on his matter of salary increases, but it is certainly in the minds of the nation’s teachers. On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day today, which is National Teachers’ Day by virtue of Republic Act 10743, the country would welcome the announcement of any new benefit for our nation’s teachers but most of all on any new development on the promised pay increases.

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