Following the celebration of the National Teachers’ Month from September 5 to October 5, Senator Win Gatchalian vowed to pursue measures that will uphold the welfare of teachers and raise their salaries.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education thanked teachers for their hard work and sacrifice to ensure learning continuity despite the threat of COVID-19. Since teachers are among the most important factors in children’s learning, Gatchalian emphasized the need to raise teachers’ morale and to keep them motivated.
Gatchalian’s topmost priority measure under the 19th Congress is the Teacher Salary Increase Act (Senate Bill No. 149), which seeks to increase the salary grades (SG) of Teacher I from SG 11 with a salary of P25,439 to SG 13 with a salary of P29,798, Teacher II from SG 12 (P27,608) to SG 14 (P32,321), and Teacher III from SG 13 (P29,798) to SG 15 (P35,097).
The lawmaker has been pointing out that when it comes to salaries, Filipino teachers are already left behind by their peers in the ASEAN region. In Singapore, for example, the average monthly entry-level salary of teachers is P51,820, the highest in ASEAN. In Malaysia, the average monthly entry-level teacher salary is P44,607.
Aside from raising teacher salaries, Gatchalian also reiterated his call for the full implementation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act No. 4670). Before the close of the 18th Congress, Gatchalian reported the basic education panel’s findings on the implementation of the 56-year old law.
Among Gatchalian’s recommendations is to decongest teachers’ workload so they could allocate more time for actual teaching. In the long run, Gatchalian eyes having enough non-teaching personnel in all schools.
Gatchalian also pressed the need to ensure adequate health insurance for teachers. He cited a proposal from the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS), which showed that for a premium of P400 per teacher, DepEd personnel would each enjoy coverage of up to P120,000. Subsidizing these premiums would cost P369.8 million, a reasonable amount according to Gatchalian.
“Patuloy nating isusulong ang mga panukalang batas upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga guro at maitaguyod ang kanilang kapakanan. Napapanahon na rin upang tiyaking matutupad ng pamahalaan ang mga pangako sa ating mga guro, kabilang ang pagtaas ng kanilang sahod,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian also plans to file a bill that would amend the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers and make it more responsive to present-day challenges.