CAGAYAN de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has proposed the grant of tax exemption to public school teachers as a non-wage benefit.
In Bill No. 9106 filed before Congress went on recess, Rodriguez said it is important that the government compensate teachers sufficiently so the education sector could attract the most competent personnel.
Citing data from the Department of Budget and Management, he said there are around 880,000 public school teachers in the country.
“The latest report also shows that the teacher-to-student/pupil radio is 1:29 in the elementary level, 1:25 in high school and 1:29 in senior high school. This highlights the difficulties our teachers face in providing quality education to our students,” he said.
He added that despite the importance of their work, teachers are among the lowest paid government workers.
“It is vital that the government attract the most competent and efficient teachers for the benefit of our students. To do this, the government must provide compensation and benefits, whether monetary or otherwise, commensurate to the work they perform and the contribution they make to society,” he stressed.
Bill No. 9106 provides that “all salaries, wages, allowances, and benefits granted to public school teachers, including those in state colleges and universities at all levels, shall be exempted from the withholding taxes as provided for by pertinent laws, rules and regulations pertaining to withholding taxes.”
The measure mandates the commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to implement the provisions of the proposed law, if and when it is enacted.
It further provides that “all laws, decrees, executive orders, letters of instruction, letters of implementation, rules and regulations, and other issuances inconsistent with any provision of this Act are hereby repealed, modified, superseded or amended accordingly.”
The proposed law is to take effect 15 days after its publication in any two newspapers of general circulation.
The entry level salary in the public education sector is Salary Grade 11 (P27,000, Step 1). This salary grade pays up to P29,075 (Step 8), depending of its holder’s length of service.
There are several proposals in the House of Representatives to raise the hiring rate in public schools to Salary Grade 15 (P36,619, Step 1), or an increase of P9,619 from SG 11.
SG 15 pays up to P39,367 (Step 8).
Under the law, in addition to their monthly compensation, all government personnel are entitled to a mid-year pay equivalent to a one-month salary and a yearend bonus, also equivalent to one-month salary, plus a P5,000 cash gift.