Press Release
October 9, 2011

Cayetano: If we want our country to prosper, then we have
to start taking care of our teachers

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the government to invest more on education by providing decent compensation and benefits to public school teachers so they may have the means to effectively mold the young minds.

Cayetano made the call in his privilege speech yesterday to commemorate the celebration of World Teachers' day and stressed the integral role of teachers in value formation towards national development.

"The kind of society we'll have tomorrow depends on the kind of teachers we have today," he said citing a 1998 World Bank Study that deemed the role of teachers as "the single most influential factor" behind a student's performance.

The senator lamented the sorry state of the public school teachers who are considered to be among the country's "poor sector" with their meager salaries and inadequate government support.

"Based on the Salary Standardization Law 3, the average starting pay of a public school teachers is P17,099. Estimated take-home pay after mandatory deductions such as PagIbig and GSIS only amounts to P13,679," he said.

He estimated that given a monthly rent of P5,000 for housing and a meal allowance of P50 a day for each family member in a family of six amounting to P9,000, a teacher barely has enough to cover her own expenses.

The minority leader also expressed his alarm over the exodus of teachers who try to seek better employment abroad as he cited the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration's (POEA) records that in 2010 alone, 882 teachers quit teaching and went abroad to become domestic helpers.

Cayetano urged the government to increase its support to the country's estimated 600,000 public school teachers by fully implementing the existing Magna Carta for Public School Teachers Act.

"The Magna Carta has been there since 1966, yet why are there provisions that have yet to be implemented? I know the government is looking for funds to better address the needs of our teachers but why can't we just see to it that this law is upheld in the meantime?" he asked.

He also called on the government to join him in his call for better support for public school teachers by increasing their monetary and non-monetary compensation to enable them to mitigate their plight.

The lawmaker earlier filed Senate Bill 2353 seeking to increase the salary of public school teachers by P9,000. The proposed salary increase will be given in tranches for three years.

He urged his colleagues in the Senate to work overtime in addressing the plight of teachers nationwide.

"If we want our country to prosper, if we want a better future, then we have to start taking care of our teachers," he said.

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