PRRD wants to strike deal on teachers’ pay hike

MMANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Thursday he is willing to strike a deal with public school teachers to increase their pay.

In his address to teachers at the groundbreaking of the Gen. Gregorio del Pilar National High School in Bulakan, Bulacan, Duterte said he is already discussing the possibility of increasing the teachers’ salary with Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

“I am willing to strike a deal in the presence of (Education) Secretary (Leonor) Briones with the teachers. You can choose the date, January, just make it fast. Then we can make even an agreement or manifesto or choose whatever kind of document itself. Kayo ang isusunod ko this year (You will be next to receive a salary increase this year),” he said.

The President said he is willing to talk to representatives of teachers but not the Leftist ones.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier echoed the Philippine National Police’s remark, which noted that the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has long been identified with the Left.

Duterte said the salary increase of uniformed personnel came first due to budget constraints and the peace and order situation in the country but vowed to prioritize the teachers’ pay hike next.

Inuna ko ‘yung sundalo because alam ko kung ano ang mangyari. We were able — nasilip ko na ang future and it would cost lives at marami ditong mamamatay. Inunahan ko na sila. Long before nangyari ‘yan — hindi ko lang sinabi. Alam ko na ang Intelligence the way we were picturing it, puputok ‘to. Pumutok nga. Kaya medyo ipit ako, Ma’am. (I prioritized the soldiers’ pay hike because I know what will happen. I saw the future and it would cost lives. I had to act first. I just did not divulge it. The intelligence community, the way we were picturing it is that something would happen, and something indeed happened. Which is why I was caught in between, Ma’am),” he said.

Senator Sonny Angara lauded Duterte’s pronouncement to increase the salary of public school teachers this year.

In a statement, Angara expressed hope that the planned salary adjustment would be close to the rate he has proposed, which is double the teachers’ basic pay of PHP20,179 to PHP42,099.

“We are happy that we’re in the same boat with the President in terms of providing our public school teachers a salary that is commensurate to their value to our society,” he said.

“Our teachers may have one of the hardest jobs with the smallest monetary reward, thus giving them a reasonable raise would help them feel more appreciated and understand why they wanted the job in the first place,” he added. 

Diokno, meanwhile, said all government employees are set to receive a salary increase in 2019 but Congress needs to approve the national budget first.

“All government employees will get an increase in pay, but it has to wait for the approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act. DBM (Department of Budget and Management) has initiated a study for the increase in compensation for government workers from 2020 to 2022,” Diokno said in a message to reporters Thursday.

In January 2018, Duterte signed a joint resolution increasing the base pay of the military and police. (with reports from Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA)

“Most Filipinos (81 percent) express appreciation for the performance of President Rodrigo R. Duterte,” the Pulse Asia survey said.

The President’s approval ratings climbed to 81 percent from 75 percent in the same survey conducted in September.

Duterte’s trust rating was also higher at 76 percent in December from 72 percent in September.

Vice President Leni Robredo’s approval and trust ratings remain virtually unchanged at 62 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III sustained his approval rating at 74 percent in December from 73 percent in September while his trust rating is the same at 66 percent in both surveys.

House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo scored a 27 percent approval rating and higher 21 percent trust rating from 19 percent in September. Arroyo was not included in the September approval survey as she had been in office for less than three months during the time it was conducted.

The survey was conducted on December 14-21 with 1,800 respondents and a margin of error of +/-2.3 percent.

Some of the prominent issues in the weeks prior to the conduct of the survey were the conviction of three police officers involved in the Kian delos Santos slay, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit in the country, the naming of the third telco player, appointment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, the arrest of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and 17 others in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the budget debate in Congress, the proposal to abolish the Road Board, and the House’s passage of a federal form of government.  Earl Jed Roque /