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Drawing lang pala: Roque admits speculating on pay hike for teachers

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has admitted there are no concrete details yet about increasing the salaries of teachers.

In a press briefing in Malacañang Thursday (January 11), Roque clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte only asked his Cabinet to look into ways to raise teachers’ pay during their meeting earlier this week.

“I did say, I did not know by how much, I speculated, it is true that my speculation could be wrong. But I did not unequivocally state how much the increase will be. I am unequivocally stating that the President ordered everyone to study how to increase the salaries of teachers,” he said.

Questions over Roque’s earlier statement about the possible raise in teachers’ salaries arose after Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government cannot afford to fund it.

Diokno estimates the government will need an additional P500 billion to hike teachers’ pay.

Roque said he never mentioned anything about doubling teachers’ salaries– like what Duterte did for policemen and soldiers– but insisted that the President wants to raise their pay.

“What you need to note is that the President says he wants to increase the salary of teachers. He does not go back on his promises, he will increase the salary of teachers by as much as we can,” he said.

Asked when an allocation for teachers’ pay hike will be included in the proposed national budget, Roque said: “We don’t even know when but he has asked them to look for ways and means to increase the salaries of teachers.”