Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC). Photo by Arnel Tuazon

Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC). Photo by Arnel Tuazon

The bonus for this year is seemingly doubled as compared to the previous one because this year-end, some provisions of EO 201 signed by former president Noynoy Aquino in February will be implemented. The said EO has become the substitute action of Malacanang for the planned Salary Standardization Law 2015 (SSL 2015) which was disapproved by the Senate in December 2015. It provides for a minimal increase in salaries of teachers (P528.00 for Teacher I position). But, the same order also provides for mid-year and year-end bonuses, both equivalent to one-month salary of government workers and public school teachers. The mid-year bonus was already given last May and the year-end will be released this November along with the P5000 cash gift mandated by another law.

We are also expecting the PBB or performance-based bonus for teachers, which the DepEd failed to give last October ranging from P5, 000 to P35, 000 depending on the performance of the school. Lastly the PEI or productivity enhancement incentive in the amount of P5000 for all government officials and employees will also be released but not this month, rather on December 15th. Thus, making it sure that Teacher I, the lowest teacher position in DepEd will receive a total amount of P34, 077 in bonuses this year-end. In the same period last year, this rank of teachers received only a total of P16, 774.

However, we still call on the government, specifically to President Duterte to act on our P10, 000 salary increase proposal introduced by Sen. Alan Cayetano in the Senate, because teachers need economic boost every day to perform their duties for the children and the country better. While a one-time bonus is appreciated, salary augmentation for teachers would solve many problems of education sector. In December 2015, the Duterte-Cayetano tandem promised to act on the said proposal if they will be elected.

Lastly, we are hoping that during her term in Department of Education (DepEd), Secretary Liling Briones will implement the vintage Magna Carta for public school teachers. It is very unfortunate, however that in the proposed 2017 budget, funds for the welfare provisions of the law like overtime pay, special hardship allowance, medical assistance and hospitalization and paid study leave, among others are not reflected. Magna Carta implementation would only need an executive or even administrative action and it only takes a willing secretary of education, who is actually mandated by law to do it.

Benjo Basas, TDC Chair, 09273356375

November 15, 2016

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