PBBM pays tribute, vows continued support for teachers

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday assured the country's teachers of his administration's continued support for them, as he acknowledged their sacrifices for the Filipino youth. 'Happy World Teachers' Day to our educators, to whom our nation owes an immeasurable debt,' Marcos said in a Facebook post. 'We recognize your sacrifices for our youth and assure you that we will prioritize your welfare and that of your families,' he added. World Teachers' Day is observed every October 5 of the year to celebrate all teachers worldwide. This year's celebration carries the theme "The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage', highlighting the importance of stopping the decline in the number of teachers and raising their population at the top of the global agenda. In the Philippines, the National Teachers' Month formally started on Sept. 5 and culminated on Oct. 5, or the day the National Teachers' Day and World Teachers' Day are also celebrated. The month-long celebration aims to honor the greatness and dedication of teachers in helping Filipino youth achieve their dreams. On Monday, Marcos also thanked teachers who serve as 'heroes of children's education.' He promised that his administration would continue to work harder to improve the teachers' lives and address the issues hounding the education sector. Malacañang on Sunday hosted the 'Para Sa Mahal Nating Mga Guro' concert upon the request of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte. Magna Carta for public school teachers Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he will soon be filing a bill that aims to update Republic Act No. 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers. Gatchalian said he will introduce new provisions granting a special hardship allowance to mobile teachers, including Alternative Learning System (ALS) teachers. He also seeks provisions protecting teachers from out-of-pocket expenses and non-teaching tasks and provisions for teachers' basic rights and longevity pay. Gatchalian emphasized the need to ensure full implementation of the law aimed at improving the living and working conditions of public school teachers, saying it has been 57 years since the law was passed, yet some of its provisions have not been fully realized. One such provision is Section 22, which entitles public school teachers to a free annual physical examination. Gatchalian noted that while the Department of Education (DepEd) has provided for some monetary medical assistance since 2019, there is still no program for the annual check-up of teachers as mandated by the Magna Carta. Another concern is Section 26 of the law, which stipulates that a retiring teacher should be promoted one rank higher, and the salary of that rank should be the basis for calculating retirement benefits. However, the current method of computation used by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) relies on the average monthly compensation that the employee received during the last 36 months of service before retirement. Gatchalian said while Section 31 of the Magna Carta requires the DepEd Secretary to submit the annual budgetary requirements to implement the Magna Carta, the agency only submits an omnibus budget request to Congress for its annual needs. 'It is high time that Magna Carta should respond to the needs and challenges being encountered by our teachers,' he said. Senator Nancy Binay also called for the immediate passage of her two bills seeking an increase in minimum salary and tax-free stipends of teachers. Binay is the author of Senate Bill No. (SBN) 339, proposing the increasing of the monthly minimum wage of teachers and non-teaching personnel from PHP25,439 to PHP28,000 a month and SBN 2370, calling for the exemption from tax of honoraria, allowances, and other financial benefits that teachers receive for rendering service during elections. The minimum salary of non-teaching personnel in elementary and secondary schools would also be upgraded from PHP12,517 to PHP16,000 a month. Meanwhile, SBN 2370 mandates that all honoraria, allowances, and other financial benefits granted to teachers rendering service during an election period shall not be included in the computation of gross income and shall be exempt from income tax.

Source: Philippines News Agency