Davao City council to support teachers’ clamor for salary hike

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 June) — The city council will push for a resolution supporting the petition to increase the salaries and other benefits of teachers.

In a statement, councilor Leah Librado-Yap said the council would “do its best” to address the need for salary increase and chalk allowance of teachers, as well as reports of delayed honoraria payment.

Librado-Yap was the chair of the committee on education in the previous city council and now heads the committee on women and children.

Teachers have demanded a salary increase of P25,000 from the current P18,000 for entry-level teaching staff.

In an earlier interview, Elenito Escalante of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said non-teaching personnel are also asking for salary increases from P9,000 to P15,000.

Earlier this week, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government could not immediately address wage increases for teachers saying the 2014 budget is already approved.

Escalante said if the government was really sincere in wanting to help teachers, Congress could easily pass a supplemental budget.

In a statement, ACT said the PDAF funds were “more than enough” to cover the increase.

The regional office of the Department of Education said it was “supportive” of the demand for higher wages.

In an interview Monday, DepEd regional spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said this was not just the teachers’ campaign but that it includes other government employees.

“Militant teachers should be given a salute for this effort,” he said.

Atillo, however, appealed to the members of the organization not to disrupt classes in their conduct of their protests.

“Let us try to do things appropriately,” he said.

Davao City has 285 public elementary schools, with 197,571 students enrolled in the previous school year. There are 70 public high schools in Davao City, with 73,403 enrollees.

Magallanes Elementary School had the highest enrollment for 2013-2014, according to DepEd, at 6,012 students. Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Central Elementary School had 4,290 students, and Sta. Ana National High School had 6,879 students.

The other schools with big populations were Daniel R. Aguinaldo High School, 6,403; F. Bangoy National High School, 4,500; and Dona Carmen Denia National High School, 4,090.

“According to Dep Ed, in Davao City the need for additional classrooms reaches as high as 1,011 for elementary schools and 550 for secondary schools; apparently there is a shortage and if we are also to address the dilemma of escalating tuition rates, we have to include in our agenda concrete steps to help those who want to go to school but cannot afford such,” Librado said.

Nationwide, there is still a shortage of 50,921 for classrooms, 60-million shortage in textbooks, 2.5-million shortage in chairs and 80, 937 shortages in water and sanitation facilities, she said.

“Education is supposedly a constitutionally guaranteed right, and the state must ensure that its pupils and students are given the basics,” said Librado.

Teachers in the city have complained of overcrowded classrooms and overloading with some schools managing three shifts of classes per day.

As of last school year, DepEd continued to rely on 35,449 volunteer Kindergarten teachers, 4,828 mobile teachers and Alternative Learning System coordinators, and 49,530 teachers funded by local governments. Majority of them are paid less than their DepEd-funded counterparts and have no benefits or job security.

However, Atillo said during Monday’s Kapehan sa SM that the local school board teachers were already enjoying a salary of P25,000.

He said the city’s assistance to the DepEd has always been appreciated and that their salaries have been made equivalent to DepEd teachers at the national level. (MindaNews)