We in the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) trust in the sincerity and commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Education (DepEd) in addressing the clamor of public school teachers for a wage hike.
The Administration’s concern and commitment to our government employees, including the teachers, is unquestionable. The President himself recognizes their noble service to the country as his late mother, whom he dearly loved, was also a public school teacher.
Thus, the insinuation of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) that the President favors the police and other uniformed personnel over our public school teachers is entirely misplaced and is without basis. The administration recognizes the contribution of our teachers as stewards of our youth's future as much as we take cognizance of the hard work of our uniformed sector in protecting and securing our communities.
The salaries of our police and uniformed personnel were raised first simply because it was an election promise of the President as part of his platform of government. It’s also a recognition of the daily sacrifice of our police officers who place their lives on the line 24 hours every day in the war against criminality, illegal drugs, communist insurgency and other threats to peace and order and national security. Moreover, given the huge number of our public school teachers now at 830,000 (as opposed to only 170,000 police officers), a teachers’ pay hike is not easy and needs careful consideration because of its huge financial impact on the Filipino taxpayer.
Nonetheless, the President has spoken and the administration is committed to deliver a pay hike to our public school teachers but it cannot be done overnight as claimed by the ACT. The Cabinet is now studying and looking for potential fund sources for the salary increase as directed by the President.
The government is committed to the plight and welfare of soldiers and the police as we are to teachers, public health workers, and to each and every Filipino. But no matter how committed the President is, he cannot oblige to the clamor of each sector all at the same time because of budgetary limitations.
Instead of constantly criticizing government, we enjoin ACT to help government find ways and means to improve the delivery of education to the youth. Let us mold them to become responsible citizens away from the deceit and machinations of communist-led student organizations that only want them to rise up in arms against the government. We also urge ACT to monitor its ranks and be vigilant against the infiltration of the Communist Party of the Philippines through the Katipunan ng Gurong Makabayan (KAGUMA) who seeks to overthrow our duly constituted government and our democratic way of life.
The government will never turn its back on public school teachers and will deliver its commitment to a pay hike.
In the Cabinet, we will work closely with Education Secretary Leonor Briones to make sure that such salary increase is equitable, within the government’s means, and sustainable in the long run.