As one of his priority legislations for the 18th Congress, Senator Win Gatchalian filed a bill seeking to increase the salaries of public school teachers in elementary and secondary schools with the rank of Teacher I, Teacher II, and Teacher III.
Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 178 increases the salary grade of public school teachers currently classified as Teacher I, Teacher II and Teacher III from Salary Grade (SG) 11, 12, and 13, respectively to Salary Grade 13, 14 and 15.
Gatchalian said he wanted to increase the salaries of public school teachers to make their pay at par with the average teachers’ salary in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“We compared the salaries of teachers from the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and based on our research, among these seven member-nations of the ASEAN, we are third to the last in terms of annual salaries of teachers – above only Malaysia and Vietnam and below the ASEAN average at that,” Gatchalian said.
The lawmaker said the average annual teachers’ salary in the Philippines, inclusive of benefits, is $18,160 while the ASEAN average is at $27,742. Brunei currently tops the list with an annual teacher salary of $55,263, while Vietnam is at the bottom with $3,877.
“If our bill becomes law, it would increase the average annual teachers’ salary in the Philippines to $21,547, closer to the ASEAN 7 average,” he said.
Based on the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law, the proposed legislation would increase the salary of Teacher I from P20,754 to P25,232 or a difference of P4,478. Teacher II salaries would increase by P4,817 to P27,755 from the previous P22,938. Meanwhile, Teacher III personnel would receive an increase of P5,299 – from P25,232 to P30,531.
“Inadequate take-home pay for a majority of public school teachers has been a common complaint which is said to have led to their increased indebtedness,” Gatchalian said in filing the bill.
“The logical argument that follows is that teachers take out loans because of their low pay and in time accumulate too much debt. And in order to remedy this problem, the obvious request has been to increase the starting pay of public school teachers,” he added.
Gatchalian noted that the Department of Education (DepEd) currently employs 889,700 personnel, with Teacher I, Teacher II and Teacher III making up 83%.
Gatchalian also noted that the starting salary schedule of Teachers I-III increased by an average of only 11% when accounting for the pay increase per SG level from the first tranche in 2016 to the fourth tranche in 2019, pursuant to Executive Order No. 201, Series of 2016. Meanwhile, anyone working as Master Teacher I, one level higher than Teacher III, would have experienced a similar increase of 21%.
“As of 2018, the gap in pay between a Master Teacher I and Teacher III was P13,861 compared to P3,224 in 2007. This has resulted in increasing inequity between those filling the ranks of Teachers I-III and higher positions,” he said.
“Public school teachers are in the forefront of national development, thus, they should be accorded the proper compensation by the government as has been provided for the nation’s police officers and soldiers,” Gatchalian stressed.