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Lawmaker wants pay for teachers doubled

SENATOR Loren Legarda is pushing for new legislation that would nearly double the minimum basic pay for the country's public school teachers.

Legarda's proposal is contained in Senate Bill (SB) 1611, which proposes to raise from Salary Grade 10 to 19 the entry-level pay classification for teachers in public elementary and high schools.

This means that their initial monthly pay would be jacked up to a new range of P18,471 to P21,995. The existing range is P10,933 to P12,997.

More important, the adjustment would automatically trigger commensurate pay increases for every teacher in the public school system currently, receiving compensation higher than the starting rate. "There is no question that the public school system has been losing thousands of highly qualified instructors forced to seek greener pasture overseas or here in the private sector," Legarda lamented.

In the US, Filipino teachers in English, Math, or Science can easily land a job that pays anywhere from US$34,000 to US$47,000 annually, or about US$2,833 to US$3,916 monthly, according to Legarda. "But this is not just about checking the exodus of teachers. More important, this is about raising the quality of life of our teachers, restoring the nobility of the teaching profession, and building up our school system," she stressed.

Once enacted, the lawmaker's proposal would make the first-year pay for public schoolteachers around 23 percent higher than the P14,991 average starting pay for their counterparts in the private sector.

Legarda also authored two other bills seeking to protect and advance the welfare of more than 500,000 public school teachers -- the country's largest group of professionals.

The senator earlier introduced a bill that seeks to totally empower public school teachers and non-teaching staff to freely bargain for bigger pay and benefits.

Legarda also filed a measure that proposes to establish a new national hospital that would cater exclusively to the health care needs of public school teachers. (CPB/Sunnex)


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