Duterte vows to hike teachers' pay, but says gov't cannot double it

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President Rodrigo Duterte. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) — After doubling the salaries of government forces, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday vowed to hike the pay of public schools teachers but admitted he the government could not double it.

"Ang inyo, kayo ang isunod ko [I will raise your (salary) next]," Duterte said during the 37th Principals Training and Development Program and National Board Conference in Davao City.

The pledge was met with applause. And then the President said, "Pero hindi naman masyadong doblado, hindi talaga kaya. Hindi talaga kaya [But we can't hike it up to double the pay, we can't.]"

The President then explained that while he initially wanted to double the pay of teachers in January, the country is lacking the resources to hike their salary.

"I'm not blaming anybody but simply there are too many Filipinos. Ang resources natin wala [Our resources are not enoug]," he said.

In January, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said doubling teachers' salary in 2019 would require an additional national budget of ₱343.7 billion, which may lead to raising taxes and sacrificing other country programs such as the "Build, Build, Build" program.

READ: Budget Chief: Teachers to get pay raise, but not double the salary

Entry-level teachers in public schools earn ₱20,000. They will get an additional ₱7,000 per annum under the salary standardization law. With the tax reform law in effect, entry level teachers are also expected to get around ₱35,000 per year increase in their take-home pay.