MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) is looking into the possibility of increasing the salary of public school teachers to P39,000 a month, an amount that will add P200 billion to the national budget.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the proposed hike is being reviewed by financial managers to ensure that it would not create a huge gap between the salaries of other government workers.
“My impression during Cabinet meetings is that the President wants to keep his (election) promise…our budget right now is one-third of the entire national budget. And we will be adding 200 billion minimum to be able to fulfill that promise. So, perhaps to fulfill that promise, without creating an even wider gap with the policemen, nurses, clerks, janitors, drivers and so on, this has to be carefully planned in terms of the financial requirements,” Briones said in a briefing in Malacañang.
“I’m not saying that they should not be done. I’m just saying what the magnitudes are because we are asked to make a very quick computation,” she added.
The starting salary of public school teachers is at P19,000 per month but may total P23,000 when the benefits or allowances are included.
Briones compared it to the policeman’s P14,000 salary and a nurse’s P19,000 salary.
Although she is sold on the idea of giving the increase, she stressed that this may not be given in one swoop. When approved, the increases would also be dependent on the teaching field. Science and math teachers and their rankings may be considered.
Briones said there is also a need to consider the plight of private school teachers when giving out the increases. She cited the exodus of educators to the public teaching sector.
One private school in Isabela province, she cited, pays its entry-level teachers only P8,000 per month.
“There are an increasing number of private schools which are now closing because they cannot retain their teachers who are migrating to the public sector. So even as you take care of the public school teachers, as is currently demanded, you have to look also at the situation of the private school teachers, particularly those teaching kindergarten and the volunteers,” Briones explained.
She did not say when the proposal would be approved for implementation, but she remains hopeful that it would be done before President Duterte’s six-year term ends in 2022.