MANILA – Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday he was not against raising teachers’ salaries, but doubling the rates at this time would “upset” the country’s fiscal plan.
Doubling the salaries of public school teachers this year would require some P343 billion, equivalent to 2 percent of gross domestic product, Diokno told reporters.
This additional expenditure would “make the public sector deficit unmanageable,” Diokno said, adding, “This will upset our medium-term fiscal plan.”
“Let me state categorically that I’m not opposed to increasing the salaries of our teachers. However, I caution against the doubling of salaries,” Diokno said.
An increase in the pay of uniformed personnel was not double the previous rate across the board, the budget chief said.
Teachers will receive a 60-percent pay increase this year under the multi-year Salary Standardization Law, aside from benefiting from lower personal income tax rates.
Doubling teachers' salaries at this time could affect the government's infrastructure program, the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City and free tuition in state colleges and universities, Diokno said.
"We must think and prioritize long-term solutions for our country’s development and for the people’s general welfare," he said.