MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed his Cabinet to find means to augment the salary of Filipino school teachers, Malacañang announced yesterday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the President issued the directive to increase teachers' basic pay during their Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Roque said President Duterte ordered the Department of Budget and Management and other agencies to include a provision in the second tax reform package to fund the said initiative.

“[The President] says that there will have to be tangible results of any implementation of the second tax reform package. And he said that that should be the increase in teachers' salary,” Roquesaid.

This was after Congress passed of a joint resolution increasing the basic pay of military and other uniformed personnel in government.

Roque added that, similar to the pay hike for soldiers, police, and other uniformed personnel, teachers could also enjoy doubled salaries once the second package of tax reforms is passed.

“He did not say how much… But judging from what he wanted for the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), it could be that he is also aiming to double the entry salary for teachers,” Roque said.

Roque assured that discussions with stakeholders will begin once a bill is passed in Congress. The President likewise instructed the Trade Department to look for alternative livelihoods for around 75,000 Filipinos working in the industry, Roque added.

During the same press briefing, Malacañang welcomed results of recent surveys that indicated a high level of optimism in the country's economic outlook.

Results from the Grant Thornton International Business Report showed the country received an 86-percent optimism level from business leaders in the last quarter of 2017, the fourth highest among 36 countries surveyed.

“That optimism is backed by solid macro and micro economic indicators that make the Philippines one of the top performing countries in the world,” Roque said.

Meanwhile, the Mastercard Asia-Pacific Consumer Confidence Survey also showed that the Philippines has the highest optimism level among its Asian neighbors with 94.5 points, besting China and Cambodia which both earned 92.2 points. *PNA


As published in The Visayan Daily Star, dated 10 January 2018