The Department of Education (DepEd) said that it bears no ill-feeling towards Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno after he clarified that the supposed salary increase of public school teacher’s was not the government’s “priority” for now.
“I think that is not a priority at this time. Our priority is ‘Build, Build, Build’ and the social protection, taking care of the poor,” Secretary Diokno said during a first press conference.
DepEd Usec Tonisito Umali in an interview with DZRH’s Isyu said that their agency was aware that the revenue for the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) would go to the government infrastructure projects.
“Ang sinabi ni Sec. Diokno ay katanggap-tanggap dahil kailangan pa talaga pag-aralan,” Umali explained, “Si Sec. Diokno at ang DBM ang may mandato para malaman kung saan kukunin ang gagamitin sa pagtaas ng sahod ng mga guro.”
He also explained that through the Salary Standardization Law the monthly income of all public school teachers were already subjected to an increase.
“Under the Salary Standardization Law tumaas na po ang sweldo ng ating mga kaguruan, nasa third tranche na po tayo. Nagsimula po yan nung 2016 na mahigit kumulang na Php 19,000 lamang ang basic pay plus Php 2000 allowance, ngayong po effective January 2018 nasa Php 21,000 na ito,” the DepEd Undersecretary explained.
“With or without the TRAIN law, tumaas na ang sweldo ng ating mga guro,” he added.
Umalis also emphasized that thanks to the enactment of TRAIN, teachers would no longer be subjected to income tax giving them the leisure to enjoy all their earnings.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, January 8, President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Department of Budget and Management and other agencies to include a provision in the second tax reform package to fund school teacher’s salary hike.
Recently, the wages of soldiers, police, and other uniformed personnel were subjected to an increase.