Teachers’ pay ‘will be raised, not doubled’
Although the salaries of public school teachers would not be doubled, these would still be increased, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.
But the government did not know when the increase would likely take place, Roque said, adding that there was no provision for it in the 2018 national budget.
“What you need to note is that President (Duterte) says he wants to increase the salaries of teachers. He does not go back on his promises; he will increase the salary of teachers by as much as we can,” the Palace official said.
“The intention is there. It will not be taken back.”
Not a priority
Roque issued the statement after Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday said that doubling the salaries of some 600,000 teachers would require a huge amount and was not a priority of the government at this time.
Diokno said the government would have to shell out P500 billion if plans to double teachers’ salaries were to push through.
“Our priority is the ‘Build, Build, Build’ (infrastructure program) and social protection,” he said.
Find the means
Diokno was reacting to Roque’s announcement on Tuesday that the President had directed the Department of Budget and Management and other agencies to find the means to increase teachers’ salaries with the second tax reform package, which was set to be submitted to Congress.
But on Thursday, Roque said his statement on doubling teachers’ salaries was just speculation on his part. The President’s spokesperson admitted he did not know how big the increase would be.
Roque, however, maintained that Mr. Duterte wants bigger salaries for teachers, even if the amount would not be double their current rates.
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