Lawmaker urges bigger Kinder budget for volunteer teachers

THE day before World Teachers’ Day, ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio called on Congress and the President to hike volunteer Kinder teachers’ monthly pay from a minimum of P3,000 to P6,000 per class.

Tinio proposed this pay hike during the tail-end of the 2013 budget process last month, during the plenary deliberations and by letter to outgoing House Appropriations Chair Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya .

“With low compensation in the face of large class sizes, instability of employment, and lack benefits, majority of the ‘volunteer teachers’ are the lowest paid and most abused employees in the entire bureaucracy,” said Tinio in his proposal.  “This makes DepEd the biggest employer of contractuals in the country and PNoy’s flagship education reform program tainted with such exploitation.”

“To meaningfully celebrate World Teachers’ Day, PNoy should respect the rights of volunteer Kinder teachers to adequate remuneration and living wage,” Tinio added.  “The President can do that by doubling the honoraria of these overworked and underpaid mentors, among others.”

World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on October 5, the day of the adoption in 1966 of ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a landmark document heralding international standards on teachers’ rights regarding salaries, working conditions, tenure, and other aspects of employment.

The progressive solon still maintains that placing ‘volunteers’ in DepEd’s plantilla is the only just and reasonable step that government should take.  However, a substantial increase in their pay is urgently needed to alleviate their economic hardship pending regularization, which is a long and tedious process.

Tinio closed by proving that government can easily afford the pay hike of around 24,000 ‘volunteer teachers’, which requires nearly P1.7 billion.  The amount is available from the P4-billion fund for school building projects by PPP, which Tinio has long slammed as a costly yet inefficient infrastructure building scheme per the experience of other countries as well as the Philippines.

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