It is often said that teachers are living heroes. Teachers are the nation builders. They create future professionals and future leaders.

Filipino teachers are not simply teachers of theories, sciences and arts but they are teachers of morale, wisdom and values. They shape the minds of young Filipinos to ensure that they will become productive and just citizens of the country in the future.

But it is unfortunate to hear that many teachers in the Philippines are forced to leave the country just to earn greater income. Many say that teachers in the Philippines are underpaid. Minimum salary of public teacher in the Philippines is P12, 000.00. If we are going to compare it to salary of other professionals, this amount ranks among the smallest. Moreover, many students are discouraged to take degree related to teaching because of the meager salary and compensations related to the said profession. How come that the nation builders rank among the least paid professionals in the country? Many teachers dedicate their entire lives to their passion, teaching. Some even end up being single in the dawn of their lives because of their dedication to the teaching profession.

Because of their meager salary, many teachers are forced to apply for public loans. Payments for these loans are often deducted from their basic salaries. Some teachers even apply for private loans such as 5-6 and shark loans just to support the needs of their families. The prices of goods are increasing; the value of money is inflating but the salaries of teachers seemed to be frozen with time. Because of this situation, many teachers are compelled to engage in other money making activities such as selling frozen goods, sweet delights and other meriendas even in school premises. How can teachers concentrate in their craft when they are doing other things? Who are the culprits in this situation? Are they the teachers who are just trying to balance their passion for teaching and their financial and moral responsibilities to their families and relatives?

Government gives salary increase to teachers once in a while but often times the swell in salary is insufficient to be felt. The salary increase is not enough to compensate to the exponential boost in the price of basic goods and services.

Teachers are the builders of future professionals and leaders, the builders of future engineers, doctors, nurses and other core work forces of the country. They must be nurtured by the government in the amount proportional to the care and love they are giving to their students. They must be properly compensated to be able to continue comfortable and happy personal lives with their families while educating the future human resources of the country. The future of the nation depends largely on teachers, and because it is the responsibility of the government to ensure bright future of the country, the government must put its full effort to guarantee that teachers are sound and well-rounded while educating the future minds and bodies of the nation.

By: Mrs. Antonia De Vega | Master Teacher I | Parang Elementary School Parang, Bagac, Bataan

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