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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Boost to entry-level wages for gov't workers, public school teachers pushed
16 July 2019 01:24:07 PM

A wage hike may be around the corner for government workers and public school teachers thanks to a recently filed House Bill 2027 by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party-list, BH - Bagong Henerasyon) to increase their monthly minimum salaries.

HB 2027 proposes that the salary of a regular entry-level position in government service shall not be less than P16,000 a month. Meanwhile, the present entry-level salary of public school teachers shall not be less than P25,000 a month and the entry-level salary of teaching personnel in state and local universities shall not be less than P27,000 a month.

The salaries of those occupying higher positions in government service, public schools, and state and local universities shall be adjusted accordingly.

The bill also aims to boost the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) granted to all government employees to P5,000, a jump of P3,000 from the current P2,000 received by public servants. The PERA shall henceforth be referred to as the Augmented Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (APERA).

Herrera-Dy said that the measure is urgent despite the recent issuance of Executive Order 201, series of 2016, or the latest adjustment to the Salary Standardization Law.

"The paltry salary increases it provides to lower- and middle-level government employees are insufficient to provide a decent standard of living for their families," Herrera-Dy said.

Entry-level or Salary Grade 1 positions in the government, such as for Clerk and Utility Worker, were given an increase of P2,068 from P9,000 to P11,068, spread out in equal tranches over the next four years. This is equivalent to a monthly salary increase of P517, or a mere P23.50 per day, said Herrera-Dy.

Meanwhile, she said teachers and nurses, who share an entry-level position of Salary Grade 11, were granted an increase of P2,205 monthly from P18,549 to P20,754. Likewise spread out over four years, this translates to a monthly increase of P551.25 or P25.05 per day.

Rank-and-file police, soldiers, and other uniformed personnel are given provisional allowances of P1,457 after four years. This is an average of P364.25 per year to augment their finances by P16.56 per day.

"Therefore, the latest adjustment to the Salary Standardization Law has failed to fulfill the long-standing aspiration of rank-and-file personnel, who comprise the vast majority of the government bureaucracy, for decent salaries that will afford them a humane standard of living," Herrera-Dy said.

She further said that the government still owes an unfulfilled mandate to teachers and non-teaching employees in both basic and higher education institutions.

Citing the Constitution, Herrera-Dy said that the State must assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure adequate remuneration and job satisfaction and fulfillment in order for teaching to attract and retain the best available talents.

Moreover, Republic Act 4670 or "The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers" states that public school teachers' salaries should be favorably comparable to those paid in occupations requiring equivalent or similar qualifications, training, and abilities to ensure teachers a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families.

She also said that the increase in the PERA will contribute to the fulfillment of these mandates.

The PERA was first granted in 1991 in the amount of P900 per month. Through a Joint Resolution by the House and Senate in June 2009, the P1,500 Additional Compensation and the P500 PERA was combined and was collectively referred to as the PERA.

"An increase in the PERA will offer government personnel more substantial relief from erosion of purchasing power of public sector salaries and wages," Herrera-Dy said./ Czarina Engracia / News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau / House of Representatives of the Philippines