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Teachers’ group willing to meet with Duterte to discuss pay hike

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By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A group of teachers on Friday reiterated its willingness to “sit down” with President Rodrigo Duterte for a dialogue on their projected salary increase.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), in a statement, expressed willingness to sit down with the President to discuss wage increase for teachers.

Duterte, during the groundbreaking of a high school in Bulacan, said that he was “willing to strike a deal” with the teachers in the presence of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones.

“We are more than willing to sit down with the president for a dialogue,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas. “We’ve been doing this with DepEd officials and if the president himself would be open for talks, it would be welcome,” he added.

Basas noted that the President “had stated this publicly in the past for several times” already. “The President promised the salary hike for teachers and we hope that it will not remain as a promise,” he said.

He explained that TDC leaders from the National Capital Region (NCR) as well as from Regions 3 and 4A were already discussing future plans to reiterate their call for salary increase.

Meanwhile, TDC lamented the delay of the salary increase for DepEd teachers and personnel.

DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla, in an earlier press conference, said that one of the implications of a reenacted budget on DepEd was that the fourth tranche of the salary increase under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) as per Executive Order 201 which was supposed to be in effect starting January 1, 2019 “will be deferred until the 2019 National Budget is approved and enacted.”

Thus, salaries of teachers and other personnel “will still be based on the salary rate of filled positions” as of December 31, 2018.

“Kakapiraso na nga lang ang umento ay made-delay pa,” said Basas. “In fact this is supposedly the last of a four-tranche increase which was started by President [Benigno] Aquino [III] in 2016 and it only costs a total of P2,205 for a Teacher 1,” he added.

TDC has been demanding for a P10,000-across the board pay hike.

“Our demand for P10,000 increase [is] extremely lower than what the government granted to our brothers and sisters in military and uniformed personnel [and] this only goes to show that [Benjamin] Diokno proves his words, that teachers’ salary is not a priority of the government,” he ended.

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