Post date: Feb 5, 2015 1:00:19 AM

By: Maria Teresa O. Canare

Teacher III

Bataan National High School

“Representatives Tet Garcia and Herminia Roman both did not sign the P10,000 increase bill. You know what to do with them come election time.”

This is a comment on two Bataan congressmen regarding the recent issue on teachers that seem to agitate not a few of our teachers. There is also a picture of children in elementary school holding placards that support the teachers’ view.

There are AT LEAST 500,000 public school teachers (elementary, high school and tertiary). This figure is conservative. In fact, a figure usually given is 600,000. Let us presume the smaller number. If the increase materializes, we should multiply that number by 13 months, with the additional year representing the 13th month pay. We arrive at P65 billion. This is the additional expense that the government incurs EVERY YEAR for the 10,000 increase.

Since the 500,000 estimate of public school teachers is conservative, the government actually needs more than P65 billion every year. But teachers are not the only workers for the government. Very recently, news mentioned six soldiers killed after an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf. Since the very lives of these countrymen of ours are on the line, they deserve salary increases, too. How about policemen? And other government employees?

From the economic point of view, an additional 65 billion a year will increase the amount of money in the hands of teachers. This increase will result in additional demands from teacher of goods and services. Since economic theory says that additional demands on goods and services tend to increase prices of such goods and services, a probable or even certain increase in prices of goods and services will follow. To be hard hit by such an increase will be Filipinos who don’t earn much and are not beneficiaries of any increase in their incomes. Public school teachers will be hit, too, but their 10,000 increase can easily provide a protection against price increases.

The starting salary for a teacher is something like P18,500 with an allowance of P2,000. All in all a new teacher earns about P20,500. If the increase of P10,000 will be given, that makes it P30,500. A new CPA who lands in the top 10 will have a difficult time earning that much.

But what is noteworthy is that teachers who seem to be adamant about their petition for wage increase do not mention anything that they promise in return for the increase. Will the 10,000 increase mean more diligence on their part? Will it mean more competence? Will it mean more patience? Will it mean more honesty?

What is happening to the Philippine educational system is blame-passing. High school teachers blame those in elementary schools. Those in college blame those in high schools. And teachers blame those in colleges for the inadequacy of their training.

When my son was in elementary school, a lesson in AralingPanlipunandealt with the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution. The rights were enumerated in their textbook. Nothing else. When time to discuss the rights in class came, the teacher simply enumerated those rights. The teacher concerned did not bother to do some research on the topic. She is a master teacher, receiving a salary much more than an ordinary teacher. And she was not married; needless to say, she had no child to care of.

I, myself, will directly benefit from any increase in my salary. And an increase of P10,000 will bring wonders to my family’s financial position. But there are other sectors more deserving of support from our government. Victims of natural calamities and the very poor among us are just but two. It will help teachers clamoring for a P10,000 increase to see conditions these two sectors wallow in.

And do the math.

A traffic enforcer’s video while selling kakanin to drivers and passengers alike has gone viral. Fighting back tears, he explained that he does so because he lacks money to give his children to. He earns P15,000 a month.