Teachers' pay

It's long overdue, from where we sit.

          That's the increase in the pay of public school teachers starting this month.

           Our teachers will receive additional net take-home pay and allowances as a result of the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

          Under this new law, Filipinos making an annual taxable income of P250,000 and below will no longer have to pay income tax. But the lower personal income will be offset by higher prices of basic goods and services.

          According to the Department of Education,  with the TRAIN law implementation and the third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law, a teacher—salary grade 11 earner—will receive a gross basic salary of P20,179 and will have a net take-home pay of P20,012.

          This is 16.21 percent or P2,792 higher than the take-home pay under the

          The "chalk allowance" for educators also increased to P3,500 from P2,500. "Chalk allowance" is the amount given to teachers at the start of the school year for the purchase of chalk, pens, erasers, cartolinas and other instructional materials.

          The clothing allowance likewise grew to P6,000 from P5,000.

          Last October, DepEd data showed that teachers had incurred P178 billion in loans from private lending institutions and P123 billion in credit from the Government Service Insurance Systems as of 2016.

          This offered compelling proof that the salaries and allowances of public school teachers are woefully inadequate for them  to meet their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter, not to mention electricity and water, the costs of which would all go up as well with the onrushing TRAIN.

          We will have to see whether  the increased take-home pay of teachers will allow them to cope with inflation. If the amount of loans they get from the GSIS and private lending institutions increases this year, then our only conclusion is that the pay hike is still inadequate for teachers to keep body and soul together.