Philippine Senator Grace Poe flanked by Kalayaan 2014 Asst. Secretary Mary Ann Omega (LA Fil-Am Chamber) and President Emeritus of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles and past Kalayaan Chair (2008) and Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA Region 9) Noel S. V. Omega during the senator's arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Poe was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the Kalayaan 2014 Grand Ball last Saturday, June 14.

Philippine Senator Grace Poe flanked by Kalayaan 2014 Asst. Secretary Mary Ann Omega (LA Fil-Am Chamber) and President Emeritus of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles and past Kalayaan Chair (2008) and Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA Region 9) Noel S. V. Omega during the senator’s arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Poe was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the Kalayaan 2014 Grand Ball last Saturday, June 14.

MANILA, Aug 8 (Mabuhay) – Neophyte Senator Grace Poe is seeking to raise the minimum pay of public school teachers  and non-teaching personnel in the elementary and  secondary levels.

Poe filed Senate Bill No. 2310 to increase the minimum pay of public elementary and high school teachers from P18, 549 to P25,000 a month, and from P9,000 to P15,000 a month for non-teaching personnel.

The bill provides that the salaries of those occupying higher position, also in the elementary and high school levels, to be adjusted accordingly.

The initial funding needed to implement the proposed measure, the bill said, should be sourced from the savings of the executive branch of government and other possible resources that may be determined by the Office of the President.

“Subsequent funds needed shall be included in the General Appropriations Act for the year following the implementation of this Act,” it further said.

Poe pointed out that the salaries of public school teachers “do not compare favorably with other occupations in government as a duly licensed teacher occupying the entry level position of Teacher 1 earns P18, 549.”

The current pay of the teachers, she said, was also “unable to insure a reasonable standard of life for  themselves and their families.”

“According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, the family living wage in the National Capital Region, estimated at P957 per day or more than P21, 054 per month, which means that many teachers resort to borrowing from government financial institutions such as the Government Insurance System, private lending institutions, or loan sharks in order to cope with this living salary gap,” the senator said in her explanatory note of the bill.

This situation, she said, has pushed some of the country’s best teachers to seek better pay and working conditions abroad.

Poe also noted the  “huge gap” in salary levels of teachers in the country compared  with those abroad.

“For example, Filipino teachers who choose to practice their profession in the United States receive annual salaries ranging  from  P1.5 million to P2.1 million. Meanwhile, an entry level Teacher 1 receives P241,137 annually,” she said.

“Sadly, due to the low pay, many of our teachers migrate to work not as teachers but as domestic helpers, nannies or caregivers,”  the senator lamented. (MNS)