Manila City, Philippines- Teachers together with health workers and other government employees today marched from España Boulevard to Mendiola Peace Arch to press for the enactment of salary increase for teachers, health workers and all government employees and for higher allocation for social services like education and health services for 2015.
“We are happy with actions of some of our senators denouncing the presence of pork barrel in the House of Representatives’ approved 2015 National Budget. We urged them to stand by the law and do all means to take down all the pork allocations in the House approved budget and allocate these instead in our salary increase and social services. Despite the decision of the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives approved 2015 National Budget is still filled with lump sum allocations. We appeal to their conscience to be true to their oath of service to abide by the law of the land – pork barrel is illegal and that all of its form must no longer be tolerated. This amount of public funds can be better used by the public if allocated to social services like education and health,” said Mr. Benjie Valbuena, chairman of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
“That is why we are not buying PNoy’s alibi that there is no enough budgets to finance the cost of our salary increase because billions are still allotted for the illegal pork barrel of the legislators and of the president himself. The Philippine Constitution’s Article XIV, Section 5 clearly states the government must allot the highest budgetary allocation to education and that salaries for the teachers must give “satisfaction and fulfillment” to them. This is furthered by Republic Act 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers which particularly mandated that teachers’ salary must be able to provide reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families. We challenge PNoy if he really considers us to be heroes by asking the Senate to include in the 2015 National Budget the needed amount for the salary increase of teachers and employees,” added Mr. Valbuena.
“Senators Osmena, Poe, Legarda, Angara, Trillanes and Marcos have pending bills already in the senate. These only manifests that there is really a need for a salary increase for teachers and employees. We call on our senators that if they are really serious in their endeavor of supporting us by adding the needed amount for our salary increase in the National Budget for 2015. Most of us (teachers) are receiving only P3,000 net take home pay which can no longer give us and our families decent way of living,” lamented Mr. Valbuena.
The salaries of public school teachers are currently unable to “insure a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families.” According to the study of IBON Foundation, the Family Living Wage (FLW) in the National Capital Region is P1,054 per day or more than P32,674 per month, which means that many teachers needed to resort to borrowing from government financial institutions such as the Government Service Insurance System, private lending institutions, or loan sharks in order to cope with this “living salary gap.” Ubos lakas kaming nagsisilbi sa mamamayang Pilipino sa kabila nang samu’t saring problema at hamon sa mga pampublikong eskwelahan, ang hiling lang namin ay mabigyan din kami nang makatao at nakabubuhay na sahod. The time for salary increase is now and not next year and we are ready to fight for it,” ended Mr. Valbuena.###
Reference: Mr. Benjie Valbuena, National Chair, ACT-Philippines, 09162294515