President Rodrigo Duterte has conceded he will not be able to fulfill his promise to increase the wages of public school teachers, saying the government does not have enough funds.
“The teachers are shouting. That cannot be. I don’t have that big money,” President Duterte said Tuesday during a meeting with Cabinet officials in Batangas.
On June 16 last year Education Secretary Leonor Briones said it was not true she was against increasing the salary of public school teachers.
“I have been working with the economic team in the Cabinet to find ways and means to realize a salary increase for DepEd’s close to 830,000 teachers,” Briones said.
“Last year, when this was taken up in the Cabinet, the decision was to allow the fourth and last tranche of the SSL this year, and for DBM to come up with a study on how to effect the next salary increase. The next salary increase is presently under discussion,” Briones added
Duterte had promised to double the teachers’ wages when he ran for president in 2016. While this has not yet been fulfilled, he recently signed the fifth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law that will provide a staggered wage increase for government workers, including school teachers.
Under the newly-signed law, an entry-level teacher earning P20,754 under salary grade 11 will now take home a monthly pay of P22,316 or an increase of P1,562.
In the succeeding years until 2023, the Teacher I salary will increase to P23,877, P25,439, and P27,000.
The country’s financial managers had earlier expressed opposition to the proposal to double the salary of teachers.
“If there’s money, why not? My mother was a public school teacher. My mother was a retired school supervisor. If only there’s enough money,” Duterte said.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition had previously said that while the group’s members were “thankful” for the increase in the salaries of government workers, they were also dismayed that the amount was “far” from what they expected, which is a P10,000 across-the-board hike for teachers and other personnel of the Education department.
During the briefing, the President also defended his decision to increase the salary of the military and the police, saying they were fewer than teachers and they played a more critical role in helping the country.
He said Filipinos had been relying on the uniformed personnel everyday for peace and order and during calamities.
“Our utility boys are those working in the police and military. Remember that,” Duterte said.
“The teachers are angry. You know, if you compare the number of soldiers and policemen to the number of teachers, they are millions.”
The Education department has estimated there are 900,000 public school teachers nationwide.