Teachers in the Philippines protested outside the Department of Budget and Management in the capital Manila yesterday. The Finance Minister stated that a rise for teachers was 'ambitious', however teachers are pointing out that senior officials have received hefty pay rises of between 75% and 233%. Teachers are merely asking for their salary to be at least $540 a month.
The Chair of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, which organised the protest said:
Another round of salary increase could be ambitious only for high ranking government officials as they now enjoy high pay level coupled with numerous benefits, but thousands of rank and file teachers and government employees continue to suffer from the low pay level and minimal salary adjustment and deceptive reward system.
Teachers in the Philippines are not only having to contend against low pay. They are also faced with the wholesale privatisation of secondary education as corporate reform merchants, Pearson, ally themselves with the huge Philippines corporation Ayala. Moreover they are having to fight for security in schools, as shocking cases emerged last year of the killing of both teachers and students by soldiers accusing them of being 'rebels.'
The new government of Rodrigo Duterte had promised a pay rise to teachers but has not made good on that promise. Moreover he appears to be encouraging even more violence in the country, giving a licence to vigilante gangs to gun down suspected drug addicts, often young teenagers living in poverty.
The ACT in its fight for safe and properly resourced public education deserves all our support.
To read more background on the struggle in the Philippines, go here.