PUBLIC school teachers might have to wait a little longer for their pay increase as Malacañang on Sunday, which coincided with celebration of World Teachers’ Day, declared that the government could not make a promise on the raise because of budgetary constraints.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. instead assured the teachers that their concerns are being looked into “but the government must first consider where the budget for the pay hikes would be sourced from in as much as they do not have the fund for the same at the moment.”
Coloma’s take on the proposed pay raise for teachers came even as the Department of Education gets the biggest slice of the pie among other government agencies with a P364.958 billion budget for 2015.
“As far as I know, whenever there are proposed laws that have budget considerations, one of the standards of procedure that Congress follows is to determine its budgetary implications and consult the Department of Budget and Management because they have a rule that they will not pass a law until the source of funding is clear,” Coloma said in an interview aired over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
Any hope for a raise in teachers’ salaries, however, was dashed when Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier told lawmakers during deliberations on the proposed 2015 budget that a pay increase for government employees, including public school teachers, was not included in their budget proposal.
Instead, he said, the government will give two bonuses in 2015—a performance enhancement bonus equivalent to a month’s pay and a P5,000 performance-based bonus.
There are pending bills in the both chambers of Congress to increase the salaries and benefits of public school teachers.
ACT party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio has filed House Bill 245, which seeks to raise the minimum salary of public school teachers to P25,000, from P18,549. Tinio said his bill has the support of 121 lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano wants to give teachers additional compensation worth P10,000 in the form of allowances from the school board’s funds (P9,000) and allowances for medical check-ups (P1,000).
Coloma said the Aquino administration has almost doubled the budget for education for next year.
He added that the government has allocated P92.3 billion in the proposed budget for the hiring of 39,000 new teachers, as well as the construction of new classrooms.
At least P2 billion has also been provided for the training of public school teachers in preparation for the implementation of the K-12 program, which will increase the number of years for basic education in the Philippines from 10 to 12 years.