The Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines decried the Duterte administration’s proposed P31-billion budget for 1.2-million civilian government employees’ pay hike as it will not provide for a substantial salary increase.
The proposed amount will only grant a 10 percent increase in their compensation according to the estimates provided by the Budget department during the 2020 budget hearing in Congress.
“A meager 10 percent pay raise is not what President Duterte promised us. ‘A little bit bigger than before’ as the President put it in his last SONA does not mean it’s better and sufficient. Such will neither give due recognition to the significant work teachers and other rank-and-file employees do nor will it ‘tide us over’ in this economy,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
ACT said that the proposed increase will only give entry-level public school teachers a paltry P2,075 pay hike—an amount that is even less than the P2,592 raise granted by Ramos to teachers in 1997 which had an inflation rate of 5.1 percent. The group argued that the offered 2020 increase will not be enough to cover workers’ eroded salaries, which they have hardly recuperated from since inflation soared to 5.2 percent in 2018.
The teachers’ federation also warned that an across-the-board 10 percent increase still follows the ‘same gravely inequitable framework of the salary standardization law, which gave pitiful increases to lower salary grades while granting grossly large hikes to top officials.’
“A dramatic increase in the pay of civilian rank-and-file employees would serve as a stop-gap measure in the ever widening gap between the salaries of ordinary employees—which make up the overwhelming majority of public sector workers—and that of top officials. Not to mention the unfair doubling of uniformed personnel’s pay which further distorted the government’s salary scheme,” added Basilio.
The Duterte administration was further criticized for allocating P64 billion for the doubling of military and police pay in 2018 while another P70 billion was provided for their 2nd tranche of pay hike. Such amount, ACT said, is highly disproportionate when the population of uniformed personnel and of civilian employees is to be compared.
“It’s unfortunate that the Duterte government would rather fund its machinery for war and fascism than its machinery for the delivery of social services,” Basilio said.
ACT challenged the administration to measure up to the positive trend in both the lower and upper houses of Congress, which saw mostly meaningful pay hike proposals from legislators. The group cited that at least 5 bills in Senate and 29 bills in the House of Representatives proposed a minimum of P30,000 salary for Teacher 1.