Solons want across-the-board pay hike for state workers

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    LAWMAKERS from both sides of the political fence yesterday pushed for an across-the-board pay increase for all state workers as they warned that favoring public school teachers in next year’s salary adjustment will set the stage for wage distortion.

    Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said that while there are mounting calls to increase the salaries of teachers, lowly rank-and-file employees receiving salaries below the living wage also deserve pay hikes.

    “We can’t increase the salaries of teachers without doing the same thing for other state workers. Right now, we are using the regime of the salary standardization. When you move (the) salaries (of teachers), you have to also adjust (the salaries of all state workers),” the left-leaning lawmaker said in a text message to reporters.

    Gaite warned that there might be a “salary distortion” if the salary hike is exclusively given to public school teachers instead of all civil service workers.

    Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, also batted for an across-the-board salary adjustment to help government employees cope with the rising cost of living.

    “I would prefer salary increases for all government workers. However, if government does not have enough money, we can start adjusting pay for teachers and nurses,” said the administration lawmaker.

    Groups like the Salary Increase Solidarity, a network of education workers, have been calling for the increase in the salaries of teachers.

    There is only a P31 billion allotment for salary increase of government employees under the P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020 budget, which, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) reeks of favoritism because the government is spending P76 billion for the increase in the salaries of police and military personnel.

    ACT, which is part of the Salary Increase Solidarity, earlier said the P31 billion allocation will only amount to a “measly” P1,845 monthly increase or P61 per day if the 1.2 million government employees will be given equal pay hikes.

    Public school teachers are protesting the measly pay hike, saying state workers deserve no less than P16, 000 for Salary Grade I employees; P30, 000 for Teacher I; and P31, 000 for Instructor I.

    A Pulse Asia survey conducted from June 24 to 30 showed that eight out of 10 Filipinos want new government salary hikes to cover all workers in the public sector, including teachers.

    Conducted from June 24-30, the Pulse Asia survey indicated that 77 percent of Filipinos aged 18 years old and above agreed that salary standardization should include all government workers while only 17 percent of the respondents wanted an exclusive salary hike for teachers. Three percent disagreed with the salary increase and another three percent replied they “don’t know.”

    Earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Briones welcomed the survey result, saying it only shows that while DepEd is recognized as the biggest bureaucracy in the country, “it is still part of an entire government system with functions that are economically interdependent of each other.”

    Briones underscored the role of nurses, engineers, and other professionals who also play important roles in the delivery of quality, accessible, basic education.

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