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Kampi n’yo ako! Diokno is all for doubling teacher’s pay but…

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Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said he was not opposed to any increase in public school teachers’ pay.

Diokno claimed that he was all for it but only after going thorough a careful study and the government has paid the last tranche of state workers’ pay increase by 2019.

Diokno was savaged by teachers’ group for pouring cold water on their hopes doubling of their salaries, which Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque indicated as a possibility after President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision on policemen’s pay hike.

In a briefing, Diokno said doubling the pay of public school teachers would require an additional P343.7 billion this year alone, which accounted for around two percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The contribution to GDP of the required amount will increase the projected budget deficit level this year to five percent of GDP, which is way above the three percent ceiling set by economic managers.

“This may put at risk the excellent international financing standing the Duterte administration has build over the past 18 months,” he said.

“I understand the crucial role teachers have in nation-building and I do believe they should be rewarded accordingly,” he said, citing that he himself has been an educator for several years.

Diokno said that even without the new increase, teachers, along with other workers in the public sector, are scheduled to have the third and fourth tranche of pay hike this and next year under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) III.

Under this scheme, a Teacher 1 will receive a total compensation of P316,506 this year and P324,556 next year.

For this year, their monthly compensation amounts to P20,179 while it is P20,754 next year.

Aside from the monthly salary, educators who hold a Teacher 1 position will receive mid-year and year-end bonuses amounting to one-month salary, P24,000 Personal Economic Relief Allowance (PERA), P5,000 Performance Enhancement Incentive (PEI) bonus, and P5,000 cash gift.

Diokno said the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law was a plus for workers in general since it exempted workers’ first P250,000 annual income from income tax.

Citing the effect of SSL and TRAIN, he said those with Teacher 1 position, with no dependents, would get additional P43,363 this year alone.

He said DBM would conduct a study on any teachers’ pay hike in the first quarter of 2019 after noting that recent studies comparing the salaries of teachers from public and private schools show that those from public school receive way higher salaries in general. (PNA)