MANILA -- Investments on the country's human resources, especially our teachers, can never go wrong, Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon said Friday in response to the remark of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that a hike in the pay of public school teachers is not a priority at the moment.
"Instead of slamming the doors on the plea of the teachers, Secretary Diokno should use his wise judgment and skills to find the funds and put money where it is most needed, Drilon said in a statement.
Drilon said that if Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was able to find funds for the salary hike of military and uniformed personnel, then increasing the pay of public school teachers is also possible.
Aside from Drilon, other senators belonging to the Liberal Party (LP) also found Diokno's comment insensitive.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino said that while teachers may not engage in dangerous missions like uniformed personnel, they give as much dedication to educating the students.
"They have legitimate demands and are not shielded from the impact of higher prices of goods and services, especially with the TRAIN ( Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law in place," Aquino said.
Like soldiers and cops, they also use gasoline, buy food, and spend for others products that have increased because of the TRAIN law, he added.
LP president Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, said that after military and uniform personnel was increased, teachers and teaching personnel should come next.
"Beyond their traditional mission in the classrooms, teachers are mentors and influencers of the youth and of the community. Their critical role in nation-building could not be overlooked," Pangilinan, whose mother is a retired teacher, said.
Diokno earlier said that public school teachers' pay hike is not a priority because its priority is the government's 'Build, Build, Build' infrastructure program as well as social protection.
He also stressed that salaries of teachers in public schools are even better than those in private schools.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to double the public school teachers.
Roque later clarified that public school teachers' pay will be raised not doubled.
Source: Philippine News Agency