Diokno says teachers' salary hike not a priority now
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday that providing salary increase to some 600,000 public school teachers, on top of the compensation adjustment under an executive order for civilian government personnel, is not a priority at this time.
In a press conference in his office in Manila, Diokno said the Department of Budget and Management will tap a third party from the private sector to come up with a comparative study of the salary classification of all the over a million civilian government employees, including teachers, with that from the private sector.
"I think that is not our priority at this time. Our priority is Build, Build, Build and the social protection, the taking care of the poor," he said.
He said doubling the salary of public school teachers "will involve another half a trillion pesos."
But he confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered him to look into the salary of public school teachers after raising basic pay of soldiers and policemen.
"But not to double (the salary of teachers)...he (Duterte) said study. Now, after soldiers, we'll look at the plight of the teachers. Unfortunately, that (entails) huge amount," Diokno said.
"We don't want the budget that is simply salaries for everyone. I don't think Filipino taxpayers would like that," he added.
He also noted that from what he saw, the salary of public school teachers are twice that of the private school teachers.
"So in fact, there's an exodus of private school teachers transferring to public schools," Diokno said.
He also said under Executive Order No. 201 issued by then President Benigno Aquino III, providing a modified salary schedule for civilian government personnel, including teachers, they will receive two more tranches of the four tranches of salary hike until next year. The increase is about 15-16 percent.
Diokno said the "best time" to consider another salary hike for teachers will be by 2020.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte's order to DBM to study salary increase of teachers could also mean to double it similar to that of the police and the military personnel.
Beginning January, military and uniformed personnel will receive higher salaries after Duterte signed the Joint Resolution passed by Congress late last year. Celerina Monte/DMS