Tinio on teachers’ pay hike: We welcome that but…

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ACT Teachers partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio welcomed the statement from Malacañang that President Rodrigo Duterte intends to raise teachers’ pay this year.

“His administration has already set the benchmark by doubling the basic pay of uniformed personnel starting this year. Our teachers deserve nothing less. We eagerly await the formal proposal from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management),” the Makabayan lawmaker said.

But Tinio’s enthusiasm about the news came with some reservations.

“However, we do object to the Palace spokesperson claiming that the hike in teachers’ salaries will depend on the passage of the administration’s second tax reform proposal. This is a new propaganda line, since the Department of Finance has always said that the administration’s tax reform proposals are meant to fund infrastructure, not teachers’ pay hikes,” he said.

“This is a blatant PR tactic intended to make the new tax package, the centerpiece of which is the lowering of corporate income tax, more palatable to the public. Don’t use teachers to deodorize your pro-rich taxes!” he said.

“We will not relent in our advocacy for decent salaries for teachers and all other government employees even as we continue our struggle against the anti-poor tax reform agenda of the Duterte administration,” he added.

Tinio acknowledged that the President’s commitment to raising teachers’ salaries was an important step.

“The President’s pronouncement is especially significant, given the statements to the contrary made by key officials of his Cabinet. DBM Secretary Ben Diokno has said that raising teachers’ salaries is ‘too ambitious,’ while Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones says that public school teachers are already well-compensated and they should focus on acquiring ‘financial literacy’,” he said.

“All of these should now be set aside,” Tinio said.

“We reiterate our demand that the salaries of all government employees should be increased. The minimum monthly pay should be raised to not less than P16,000,” he said.