Held annually since 1994, the World Teachers Day is celebrated every October 5 to commemorate the signing of the joint United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – International Labor Organization (ILO) Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers, a landmark document that sought to establish international standards as bases to promote and protect the teaching profession.
In the country, we celebrate the National Teachers’ Month from September 5 – October 5 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 242 and the National Teachers’ Day every October 5 under Republic Act No. 10743. The theme for the World Teacher’s Day for 2017 is “Gurong Pilipino: Kaakbay sa Progreso”.
“Commemorating teachers’ day is very sentimental to me. Having been part of the academe before, I personally know the hardship of teachers and the special bond they share with their students,” Bohol first district representative, Rep. Rene L. Relampagos, wistfully reminisced. “Of course, I also know the challenges of teachers when it comes to, let’s say, ‘adventurous’ students,” he smiled.
“I think all will agree with me that teachers, especially those in the public schools, receive far less than what they deserve,” the lawmaker said. “Under the Constitution, it s specifically laid out that education should get the biggest cut from the budget. Yes, we do that in the yearly general appropriations act, however, as to how much goes to the teachers is another matter,” he continued.
Specifically, the 1987 Constitution mandates the State to “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” (Article XV, Section 5 (5)). In addition, Republic Act No. 4670, or the Magna Carta for Public School teachers, states that salaries of public school teachers “shall compare favorably with those paid in occupations requiring equivalent or similar qualifications, training and abilities,” that “they be such as to insure teachers a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families” (Section 15 (a) and (b)).
Under the salary standardization law, Executive Order No. 2011, series of 2016, government employees get an increase in their salaries divided in four yearly tranches. For teachers at the entry level classified as salary grade 11, they receive an increase of P2,205 (from P18,549 to P20,754) which, if divided in four years, means that they receive P551.25 per month or P25.05 per day.
Relampagos joined his colleagues in pushing for measures that seek to increase the monthly take home pay of teachers by changing the entry level of teaching personnel from salary grade 11 to salary grade 18 and non-teaching personnel from salary grade 1 to salary grade 9. There is also a proposal to increase the monthly Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) from the current P2,000 to P5,000.
“With all the sacrifices of our teachers, this is the least we could do for them – a chance for a decent living. Thank you Ma’am! Thank you Sir!” Rep. Relampagos ended.