ORMOC CITY – Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez has made it clear that she is sympathetic to the cause of increasing the take home pay of teachers, and will vote for measures regarding the matter anytime it is put on the floor.
Even party-list Rep. Antonio L. Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) vouches for that.
The congresswoman has been “attacked” on her Instagram post by some followers, who have accused of her of being anti-teacher.
The attack stems from an advisory found at ACT’s website itself, where Gomez’s name is not on a list of House members who co-authored Tinio’s proposed bill to increase teachers’ salaries to a minimum of P 25,000.00 and non-teaching personnel to P 15,000.00.
In an Instagram post, Tinio, whose Instagram name is @tonchitinio said, “Cong. Lucy has always been supportive of measures that will promote the rights and welfare of teachers, including the demand for higher salaries. The ACT chapter in Ormoc can attest to that.”
Rep. Gomez thanked Tinio for coming to her defense, saying “thank you very much @tonchitinio for going out of your way to set the record straight. So many accusations and angry words… over something that is not true to begin with.”
Rep. Tinio’s “setting the record straight” also comes timely during the celebration of World Teachers’ Day today, a big affair of which is now ongoing at Bacolod City.
Evelyn del Prado, a Master Teacher from Albuera, a town under Rep. Gomez’s legislative district here in Leyte, said she was able to relay Gomez’s assurances and Tinio’s support to co-teachers who were gathered at Bacolod City for an awarding.
Mrs. Prado is one of those named Outstanding Teacher at the World Teachers’ Day gathering and it was Prado who had earlier aired her disappointment to the Star about Gomez’s name not being on the list of co-authors.
Rep. Gomez, in a text interview, said that the teachers should “check their facts first before they accuse me of not signing.”
Gomez explained that the bill “is still pending in the committee level.”
The “list” that is being circulated by ACT, Gomez said, is just a list of those that co-authored the bill. It does not mean that she will not vote “yes” to a bill that she has not co-authored.
Gomez added, “Of course, I want teachers’ salaries to increase. Who wouldn’t? They are always overworked and underpaid.”
However, she added, “there was no vote called on it (yet) whether a certain representative is for and against it. Again, it is still being taken up in the committee level.”
Gomez added that she also had to be pragmatic. She explained that ACT’s proposed bill calls for a sweeping increase of teachers’ salaries. “And if their salaries are increased, then the same should be done to all other civil servants. Obviously, the government has no money for a sweeping increase.” This might lead to the bill’s “not seeing the light of day.”
“So the compromise”, she said, “as of the last time I checked before budget deliberations, was to increase the teaching materials allowance of the teachers. That way, they have an increase of sorts … but there will neither be pressure or obligation to apply the same on the salaries of all other public servants.”
This “compromise” bill, which marries all the good points of pending bills in Congress seeking an increase of the take home pay of teachers, “is still in the works.”
Gomez reiterated she would always be an ally of teachers. “I have always believed that education is a great equalizer and to achieve that, we need to support our teachers.” By Lalaine M. Jimenea