Teachers want Diokno to apologize over ‘insensitive’ remark on wage hike
A coalition of teachers has demanded an apology from Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno for his “insensitive” statement on national television that granting the increase on tutor’s salaries was not the priority of the Duterte administration at this time.
Citing the 1987 Constitution, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said on Wednesday that educators must be given adequate salaries and benefits by assuring that the education sector gets the biggest chunk in the national budget.
TDC noted that under Article XIV, Section 5 of the Constitution, “the state shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.”
“Paano mangyayari na hindi priority ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) ang sahod ng mga guro samantalang priority dapat ito ng estado ito ayon sa saligang batas,” the TDC said in a statement in response to Diokno.
TDC also chided the DBM chief for saying that public school teachers’ salaries on the average were “far better” than that of their counterparts in the private sector.
The group said the DBM should instead help raise the labor standards of private school teachers to that of government standards, and not use their “miserable conditions” to justify the prevailing salaries of public school teachers.
“If the DBM will do profiling, they will find out that most of the teachers in private schools are just starting their career, they are not the sole breadwinner in their respective families,” the TDC said.
“Most of these private schools fail to comply with the labor standards–job security, minimum wage, right to organize and to collectively bargain,” the group said.
TDC also criticized Diokno for saying that teachers get a monthly take-home pay of more than P26,000. The group said this amount was a mere a simple addition of all the salaries, allowances, and bonuses of public school teachers.
“He misses the fact that most of these bonuses are given once a year in a specific date and for specific purpose like in the case of teachers–chalk allowance,” the group said.
“All other benefits are like productivity enhancement incentive, productivity-based bonus, clothing allowance are also given to other employees,” they said.
Keeping public sector deficit manageable
Diokno, however, clarified that he was not against increasing the salary of public school teachers.
In press conference on Wednesday, Diokno explained that he only wanted to ensure that public sector deficit remains manageable before granting the wage increase.
The DBM chief said that doubling the salaries of teachers would require an additional P343.7 billion in Personnel Services.
“Financing this P343.7 billion may require hiking the deficit from 3 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) to 5 percent of GDP, and it may put at risk the excellent international financial standing the Duterte administration has built over the past 18 months,” he said. /kga
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