TEACHERS DO MATTER
Manifestation in Commemoration of World Teachers' Day
delivered by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo
at the House of Representatives
on 6 October 2008
Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I rise on a matter of personal and
collective privilege to salute everyday heroes the world over who play
vital roles in shaping every country's citizenry. The gifts of literacy,
knowledge and moral rectitude are passed on from one generation to the
next because of them.
Yesterday, October 5, marked World Teachers' Day. It was an occasion to
pay homage to our teachers who, despite the great difficulties and
inadequate monetary compensation in their chosen profession, continue to
impart values and knowledge to their youth.
World Teachers' Day was inaugurated 40 years ago to commemorate the
signing on Oct. 5, 1966 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization – International Labor Organization Recommendation
concerning the Status of Teachers. More than 100 countries now celebrate
World Teachers' Day.
This year's theme—Teachers Matter!"—aptly gives due recognition to the
teachers' "enormous contribution to learning and social development, " as
the joint statement of the UNESCO, ILO, UNDP and UNICEF put it.
Teachers do matter. Their noble profession as educators is significant in
shaping society and a country's soul.
But as we honor them we must focus on the plight of teachers, especially
in the Philippine setting. Last week, two of our distinguished colleagues
--Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, herself an educator, and
Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III -- took the floor to press for a
substantial increase in teachers' salaries as a matter of right on their
part and as matter of respect for the teaching profession on our part. I
join their call because our teachers have long been denied what is due
Most of the half- million public school teachers in the country – 479,893
to be exact – belong to Salary Grade 10 with a monthly pay of P12, 063.00.
They need to be raised to Salary Grade 20 in view of the rising cost of
living. The ten-percent salary increase given to them last July 23 was
simply not enough.
As of August 2008, the cost of living for a family of six in Metro Manila
was at P 911.00 a day or PhP 20, 042.00 per month. The 10% hike for those
in the Teacher 1 position (who receive PhP 12,026/month) still leaves a
living salary gap of PhP 8,016.00. Additionally, Manila has become a more
expensive city to live in than last year. According to the Mercer
Worldwide Cost of Living 2008 survey, Manila ranked 110th among 143 cities
surveyed in six continents. The ranking is up 27 notches from 137th last
year. Done in March, the survey measured the comparative cost of over 200
items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing,
household goods and entertainment. Members of the Alliance of Concerned
Teachers, a national organization of patriotic and progressive teachers,
are here in the gallery for the second time to lobby for the immediate
passage of a legislation that will grant them immediate economic relief,
and if I may add, peace of mind. Various measures are pending before this
Chamber to address the teachers' very just demands. One is House Bill 4734
titled "An Act Providing for Additional Compensation for Public School
Teachers" principally authored by Gabriela Women's Pary Rep. Luzviminda
Ilagan with this representation as co-author.
HB 4734 seeks a PhP 9,000.00 hike in teachers' monthly salaries to be
carried out in yearly PhP 3,000.00 addition over the next years.
Similarly, there is House Bill 4380 on Additional Support and Compensation
for Teachers in Basic Education, authored by Representatives Guingona,
Cynthia Villar and Laarni Cayetano.
Speaker Prospero Nograles has introduced House Joint Resolution 24, "Joint
Resolution Urging the President of the Philippines to Modify the
Compensation and Position Classification System of the Government and to
Implement the same Initially Effective July 1, 2009, and Authorizing the
Amendment of Existing Laws and Issuances Contrary to the Provisions of
this Resolution, " or the Salary Standardization Law Phase Three or SSL 3.
Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, we welcome all moves to address our
teachers' just and legitimate demand for a salary hike, but this should be
rightfully hinged on recognizing the fundamental difference between the
economic needs of those from SG 1 to 9 from those in SG 26 to 33. Those
who currently receive less are the most ravaged by the rising prices of
basic commodities and should therefore benefit more from any legislative
action on salary increase.
Measures can and should be made to reconcile the differences towards
giving our intended beneficiaries the hike they need at the soonest time
Mr. Speaker, I urge this Chamber to prioritize the immediate passage of
legislation that will provide immediate economic relief to our overworked
yet underpaid teachers. We continue to lose professionals, our teachers
included, to the lure of much better pay in foreign shores. ACT pegs the
shortage of public school teachers in the country to almost 40,000. We
cannot afford to lose more of these noble professionals.
They should be prized and given just remuneration for their distinct
legacy of knowledge and inspiration to the young. As they have molded us
in our younger years, we leave our children and our children's children to
them for their intellectual and moral nourishment inside the school.
We owe our teachers this much and more. Thank you. #