MANILA - He is not turning back on his promise to increase the salary of public school teachers, but President Rodrigo Duterte said it would take some time before they enjoy a raise.
"We're working on it, akong saad, pero timan-i baya there are millions of teachers," he said in a speech in Cagayan de Oro, where he administered the oath of office of the city's newly elected officials.
(We're working on it, on my promise, but remember there are millions of teachers.)
Public school teachers have been clamoring for a significant increase in their salary following pay hikes for police officers, soldiers, and other uniformed personnel in 2018.
"Gamay raman ning pulis. Ang pulis something like 160,000, ang military 130,000. Dali ra. Mao nang doblado nani sila karon," he said.
(There's only few of them. The police is about 160,000 while the military is about 130,000. It's easy. That's why their salaries have doubled.)
The President said he prioritized those in the uniformed services because they are willing to risk their lives for the country.
"Moingon gani ko sa ila nga, 'Adto ngadto sa Malabang sa Lanao del Sur kay naggiyera didto. Ambak mo sa impyerno, magpakamatay mo.' Mao gyud na ilang buhaton," he said.
(If I will order them, 'Go to Malabang, Lanao del Sur because there is a war. Jump into hell and die.' They will do it.)
An entry-level uniformed officer - Police/Fire/Jail Officer 1, a Private, an Apprentice Seaman, or a Seaman Third Class - is now receiving P29,668 from a base pay of P14,834.
Meanwhile, an entry-level public-school teacher, which has a Salary Grade 11 under Tranche 4 of the Salary Standardization Law, earns a monthly salary of P20,754.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones had said that the government would have to shell out some P150 billion if it would give public school teachers a salary increase of P10,000 per month.