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3 wage hikes complete teachers’ P3,000 raise - 07May08
MANILA, Philippines — The government has finally granted the long-standing demand of public school teachers for a P3,000 increase in their monthly salaries after three wage adjustments were implemented over a 30-month period, an official of the House budget panel said.
Quirino Representative Junie Cua, senior vice chair of the House committee on appropriations, said Friday the May 1 Executive Order signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo increased the teachers’ pay by P3,087 after three salary increases since 2006.
“When the order takes effect July 1, government would have met our teachers’ longstanding appeal for a P3,000 monthly salary increase,” Cua said in a statement.
Cua said that records from the Department of Budget Management (DBM) showed that the first salary increase for teachers was implemented in January 2006 through the P1,000 across-the-board hike in monthly “additional compensation.”
The second, he said, was in July 1, 2007 when Executive Order 611 raised by 10 percent the basic pay of civilian government employees and granted a P1,200 increase in the subsistence and other allowances of uniformed personnel.
“This raised the basic monthly pay of the lowest-paid public school teacher from P9,939 to P10,933, or an increase of P939,” Cua said.
The July 1, 2008 pay hike, signed and approved by Arroyo on Labor Day will add another 10 percent, thus bringing to P12,026 the monthly basic salary of the lowest-paid public school teacher, according to the Quirino lawmaker.
Cua said that while most public school teachers are in the Salary Grade 10 bracket of the government’s salary structure, the said salary grade has eight pay steps based on a teacher’s length of service with the maximum or those in Step Eight getting P11,815 a month.
“So in all, the increase for teachers will be P3,087 since January 2006, which is a compliance record that is not bad at all. I agree that it’s still not enough but it will be unfair to accuse the government of having done nothing at all,” Cua said.
Cua said two more increases for government workers are planned for 2009 and 2010.
“And hopefully these will recover the purchasing power lost to the increase in rice and fuel prices,” he said.
Cua said the three wage hikes since January 2006 would cost taxpayers around P60 billion annually.
“The July 1, 2008 wage hike for all government workers will cost P12.1 billion for six months, so a full-year implementation would be double that amount,” Cua said.
Cua said the taxpayers would have to foot the bill as they are the employers of public servants.
“To give you an idea of how hard to raise P24 billion, it would be equivalent to VAT payments on 40 billion packs of instant noodles,” Cua said.
Cua said the government is now spending P384 billion a year for the salary, allowances, pension, and other compensation of almost 900,000 civilian national government employees; 277,905 soldiers, policemen and other uniformed personnel; and government retirees.
“That is P1.05 billion a day. It should have a sobering effect on those who pander before the gallery and call for astronomical pay hikes without saying where to get the money to fund their proposals,” Cua said.
One proposal in the Senate, said Cua, was to raise the basic pay of a public school teacher by P8,000.
“(That) is a noble proposal if only they will tell us where to get the P54 billion a year needed for such an increase,” Cua said.
Cua said government pay hikes should depend on the ability to raise the corresponding revenues.