Rep. Emil L. Ong said his proposal embodied in House Bill 4810 gives spirit to Section 5, Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution that provides "The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment."
"Public school teachers are looked upon and heralded as mentors of the children and the youth and as such, the profession should and must be looked upon with respect and dignity. Providing teachers with a dignified salary is one of those steps in order to make the teaching profession worthy of respect and emulation," said Ong.
At present, the lawmaker said a Teacher 1 position provides a monthly basic salary of P18,549 as implemented under the third phase of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL). This amount, however, is not sufficient to meet the ever-growing needs of any teacher or any Filipino under the present times where inflation is constantly threatening the value of hard earned money according to him.
"The proposal hopes to alleviate the living condition of our public school teachers. A salary increase will motivate good public knowledge-shapers to continue teaching and contribute to the country's efforts to achieve quality education for our children and youth alike," said Ong, a vice chairman of the House Committees on Appropriations, Information and Technology, and Transportation.
In recent past when the salary of teachers was below standards, he said the country saw the exodus of teachers abroad to seek greener pastures in Hong Kong, the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world.
"In effect, this aggravated the already declining quality of education because of lack of qualified teachers who are willing to bear the brunt of working in far-flung barangays of the country. The country in a way lost a working force which could propel the children and the youth into becoming productive citizens and contribute to the country's economic progress," said Ong.
House Bill 4810, now pending at the Committee on Appropriations chaired by Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), provides that the present basic salary level of public school teachers, both in the elementary and high school levels, shall be increased to P25,000 a month.
The salary increase shall be differentiated in accordance to the qualifications and length of service rendered by the public school teacher and shall not prejudice or be prejudiced by across-the-board salary adjustments, the bill provides.
Furthermore, it provides that merit promotion on the basis of performance evaluation results shall be considered and treated as separate and distinct from the upgraded salary provided for under the proposed Act.
It also provides that the initial amount necessary to implement the provision of the proposed Act shall be sourced from the savings of the Department of Education (DepEd). Thereafter, such amounts necessary to implement the Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the year following the approval of the Act.
Lastly, the bill provides that the Secretary of Education shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the proposed Act.--Rowena B. Bundang, Media Relations Service-PRIB
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