Duterte vows to raise teachers’ salaries

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is accorded with sideboy honors upon boarding BRP Davao del Sur (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to raise the salaries of public school teachers even as he acknowledged that he cannot double their pay, unlike policemen and soldiers.

Duterte said the government the sheer number of public school teachers at 880,000 makes it impossible for the government to have sufficient resources to double their salary.

“I promise: Your salary will be raised soon. We’ve been trying to come up with a progressive (increase),” the President said.

In January, Duterte signed Joint Resolution No. 01 authorizing the increase in the base pay of military and uniformed personnel in the government. The resolution increased the basic pay of Private and a Police Officer 1 from P14,834 to P29,668 a month.

Mr. Duterte then directed the budget department to find ways to raise the wages of teachers.

“It will be incremental. We can’t do it in one tranche. You are too many. You are five times more or seven times more than the soldiers,” the President said.

Earlier, Budget chief Benjamin Diokno said an additional salary increase for public school teachers will not happen this year as there was no allocation in the 2018 national budget.

“It will be difficult to implement an immediate salary increase for teachers in 2018. We cannot unilaterally change the budget because the Congress has the power of the purse…We cannot spend what Congress has not approved,” he said.

For his part, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara expressed full support for Duterte’s plan to increase the salary of public school teachers.

“We support 100 percent the President’s plan to raise the salary of our public school teachers. They are among the most underpaid workers, given their workload and role in the society,” said Angara, vice chair of the Senate finance committee.

Angara’s Senate Bill No. 135 seeks to upgrade the minimum salary grade level of teachers from Salary Grade 11 to 19” doubling their current monthly base pay from P20,179 to P42,099.

“Our teachers are considered to be the heart of the educational system. The government needs to give them priority,” he said.