By Ronnel Kien Bermas

Photo Courtesy of Ernie Peñaredondo/Philippine Star/Manila Bulletin

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has again pushed for an increase in the salary of public school teachers after his commissioned survey disclosed that 50% of Filipinos think educators are underpaid.

In a statement, Gatchalian, who will be leading the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, noted the significance of teachers in children's learning.

“Panahon na upang itaas natin ang sweldo ng ating mga guro, lalo na’t sila ay napakahalagang sangkap sa pagkakatuto ng ating mga kabataan,” the senator said.

Gatchalian also bemoaned that the entry-level salary of Filipino teachers is falling behind its Southeast Asian counterparts.

Concerning this, he filed Senate Bill No. 149 or the proposed Teacher Salary Increase Act, incrementing the public school teachers’ Salary Grades (SG).

Under the bill, the salary of Teacher 1 will increase from SG 11 (P25,439) to SG 13 (P29,798), the wages of Teacher 2 from SG 12 (P27,608) to SG 14 (P32,321), and the salary of Teacher 3 from SG 13 (P29,798) to SG 15 (P35,097).

According to Gatchalian, the bill is in line with the Republic Act No. 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, which he aims to amend to fit the current circumstance.

The senator asserted that the move could boost the teachers’ morale and persuade students to take a teaching course.

“Kung maitataas natin ang kanilang mga sahod, maitataas din natin ang kanilang morale at mahihikayat din natin ang mas maraming mga kabataan na kumuha ng kurso sa pagtuturo,” he expounded.

According to Gatchalian's poll which consisted of 1,200 respondents and ran from June 24 to 27, 50% of Filipinos believe teachers are underpaid while 37% think their salary is sufficient.

Moreover, the survey showed that 3% of Filipinos think public school teachers are overpaid, while 10% are uncertain.

Edited by Audrei Jeremy A. Mendador