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Pay hopes up for teachers, other gov’t workers



BOTH administration and opposition lawmakers are for across-the-board salary increases for all government workers, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said Wednesday. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the Centrist Democratic Party shared this view. “I would prefer sal­ary increases for all government workers,” he said. “But if government does not have enough money, we can start adjusting pay for teachers and nurses.”

There really is no doubt that all government workers deserve salary increases. At the start of his administration in 2016, President Duterte immediately pushed for increases for the nation’s soldiers and police­men. Congress quickly enacted a law doubling the pay of the country’s 172,000 soldiers and 170,000 policemen, and these took effect on the first day of 2018.

The nation’s teachers should have also had pay increases. But there are 600,000 of them and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it simply could not find the P600 billion needed for them. So January, 2019, came and went. And now Congress is preparing to approve another national budget for 2020, but the move for teachers’ pay increases is now being rivalled by a move for pay increases for all government workers, not just teachers.

A Pulse Asia survey held last June 24-30 said 77 percent of the respon­dents favor salary adjustments for all public employees. But the nation’s teachers have been hoping for pay hikes since the start of the Duterte administration but only uniformed personnel got theirs in 2018. Presi­dent Duterte told the teachers then: “Kayo ang isusunod ko this year.”

In his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 23, the Presi­dent reiterated his promise to the teachers, while also adding govern­ment nurses. The members of the new House of Representatives are in full support of raising all government workers’ salaries, but they face the reality of inadequate government funds.

The government’s economic planners were able to produce a miracle for our soldiers and policemen in 2018. We continue to hope that they will also be able to produce a miracle for the other government workers – most especially for teachers – this year.