MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Saturday proposed the creation of new ranks for teachers corresponding to higher salary grades to close the pay gap.
In a statement released to coincide with Teacher's Day, Recto pitched the creation of four ranks - Teacher IV, V, VI, and VII- to bridge gaping salary differences within the plantilla.
He noted that the current ranks- Teacher I, II, and III- leave teachers "stranded" at low pay grades for a long time, while chances for promotion into Master Teacher are low due to budget constraints.
The Department of Education receives the biggest chunk out of the national budget annually as it has the most number of personnel, including more than 800,000 public school teachers.
Recto said most of them languish in positions with meager pay for decades.
"Nearly 772,000 public teachers are faced with a career roadblock because of a curable problem in the DepEd plantilla system.
Many are stranded for years, or even forever, in deadend positions where promotion is delayed or impossible because of missing rungs in the DepEd career ladder," he said.
Recto said most public school teachers are in the three lowest ranks:
- 436,275 are Teacher I under Salary Grade (SG) 11 receiving P20,754 monthly
- 127,999 are Teacher II under SG 12 with monthly pay of P22,938
- 207,613 are Teacher III under SG 13 receiving P25,232 monthly
The next ranks are Master Teacher level, with the income gap at least P15,000 and four salary grades. The rank Master Teacher I under SG 18 earns P40,637 a month, Master Teacher II (SG 19) P45,269, and Master Teacher III (SG 20) P51,155.
But budget constraints delay the promotion process, so it could take decades for teachers to be promoted to master level.
He noted the "dearth" in master teachers compared to the hundreds of thousands in lower ranks: there are 39,950 Master Teacher I, 15,828 Master Teacher II, and only 65 Master Teacher III.
"Ang biro nga ng mga guro: Dalaga ng pumasok sa DepEd; ngayon lola na, pero Teacher III pa rin (The teachers joke that they enter DepEd as single women, and they remain Teacher III until they become grandmothers)," Recto said.
This, he said, could be fixed by creating four new ranks with successive and corresponding salary grades:
- Teacher IV at SG 14 should get a monthly pay of P27,755
- Teacher V at SG 15 should earn P30,531 a month
- Teacher VI at SG 16 should be paid P33,584 monthly
- Teacher VII at SG 17 should get P36,942 per month
"These are the bridge items to Master Teacher I. Creating them is only just and fair. One of the pillars of civil service is the predictability of meritorious promotion. In the case of DepEd, there seems to be a glass ceiling which prevents the career progression of the truly deserving," the lawmaker said.
Public school teachers have been demanding a pay hike, seeking similar grants government had given soldiers and police officers.