Doubling teachers’ pay to impact govt’s fiscal health — Diokno

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BUDGET Secretary Benjamin Diokno said he was not opposed to the salary increase for teachers but clarified that doubling their pay would negatively impact the government’s fiscal health.

“The DBM [Department of Budget and Management] recognizes the important role of teachers. We are not strictly against the salary increase of teachers,” Diokno told reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“I understand the crucial role teachers have in nation-building and I do believe they should be rewarded accordingly,” he added.

In fact, Diokno said that the take-home pay of teachers has already increased this year with the implementation of the third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

He said that currently, an entry-level public school teacher (Teacher 1) with a Salary Grade 11 under Tranche 3 of the SSL gets a monthly salary of P20,179.

“Annually, he/she enjoys bonuses and allowances of P74,358. This rounds up the monthly compensation package of teachers to P26,375,” he added.

The Budget chief said that by 2019, the monthly salary of an entry-level teacher will increase to P20,754 and the total annual bonuses and allowances will increase to P75,508, rounding up their monthly compensation package to P27,046, or P671 more per month.

He said the reason behind his previous statements in which he cautioned against the doubling of teachers’ salaries was its budgetary impact.

He clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction was “to look into increasing their salaries, not doubling them.”

Diokno said that doubling the salaries of teachers this year will require an additional P343.7 billion in recurring costs for the national government.

“Financing this P343.7 billion may require hiking the deficit from 3 percent of GDP [gross domestic product]to 5 percent of GDP, and it may put at risk the excellent international financial standing the Duterte administration has built over the past 18 months,” he said. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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