President Rodrigo Duterte is working on a salary increase for teachers and has already ordered his economic managers to find funds for it, the Palace said Monday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, would not say how soon teachers can expect the increase.
“I’ve talked with the secretary of Finance and the Budget manager and they said that they are working on it. Let’s see how it goes,” Panelo said.
The Palace statement comes in the wake of a call by ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro for the President to make good on his promise to institute a “substantial” salary increase for public school teachers and other government employees.
Tinio said Duterte “has promised multiple times” that the salaries of public school teachers would be increased after hiking the salaries of uniformed personnel.
“It is high time that the Duterte administration fulfills [its] promise to increase the salaries of teachers to compensate for the continuing price increases of basic goods and services. Teachers are merely asking for a salary increase that would provide their families decent lives,” he said.
Castro echoed Tinio’s appeal, saying the President should “wake Congress up” and make the salary increase a top legislative priority, instead of making another promise.
Panelo said the three-year delay in raising teachers’ salaries does not mean Duterte is giving up on his promise.
“The President is not reneging on his commitment… You must remember that the mother of the President was a teacher and, so his heart is with the teachers,” he said.
Panelo, the President’s chief legal counsel, said a mere executive order would not suffice without having enough money to fund the increase.
Panelo also said the Duterte administration is open to having a dialogue with the teachers. “We will arrange for that. I’ll talk with the President about that,” he added.
Since 2016, teachers have only received a minimal increase of 11.9 percent annually under Executive Order No. 201, which was signed by then President Benigno Aquino III.
In a statement, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said some 800,000 teachers suffer from low wages that do not afford them a decent life.
“Such abandonment of the very backbone of the public education system in the country vividly reflects how the state values education, hence our stance that teachers’ salaries are the top most pressing issue this school opening,” stated ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio.
Some 27.2-million students returned to school for the opening of the school year 2019-2020 Monday.
Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Danilo Lim on Monday led his men in apprehending more than 80 motorists for illegal parking and other violations in Quezon City in time for the opening of classes.
Lim also ordered the towing of vehicles obstructing traffic flow in the vicinity of Corazon Aquino Elementary School, Batasan Hills National High School in Batasan Hills Quezon City; and Ramon Magsaysay High School in Cubao, Quezon City.
“We want to see to it that roads are cleared to ensure the safety of the students walking to and from their schools and the unimpeded traffic flow in the opening of classes,” said Lim, who started the inspection and clearing operations as early as 5 a.m.
Light to moderate traffic greeted Metro Manila motorists during the first day of school year 2019-2020.
But anticipating a slowdown of traffic in the succeeding school days, Lim said more than 2,000 traffic personnel are deployed in areas with a high concentration of students.
“Our traffic personnel shall intensify enforcement of traffic rules and regulations and clearing obstructions near schools with large numbers of students,” said Lim.