2nd tax reform package should fund teachers’ pay hike: Duterte

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte instructed his Cabinet to find means to augment the salary of Filipino school teachers, Malacañang announced on January 9.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the President issued the directive to increase teachers’ basic pay during last Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

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,” Roque stressed.

This comes after Congress’ passage 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 by 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.

Meanwhile, President Duterte also indicated during the Cabinet meeting his intention to push for a measure to ban firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in the country, his Spokesperson announced.

“He wants Congress to enact this law at the soonest time possible so that the public debate on the banning of fireworks and pyrotechnics could begin as early as possible,” Roque said, reiterating the President’s view that firecrackers and pyrotechnics are inimical to human health and safety.

Roque assured that discussions with stakeholders would 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.

High level of optimism in PH economy

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.

Roque said the confidence of the business community could be attributed to the recently enacted tax reform law under the Duterte administration, which would fund the government's infrastructure programs and social welfare services.

Palace also welcomed the recognition of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) as the Best Stock Exchange in Southeast Asia by institutional investment magazine Alpha Southeast Asia.

“Alpha Southeast Asia’s Marquee Awards cited the PSE’s initiatives on tech development, product launches, and investment literacy,” Roque cited.

“This strategy supports the goal of fostering a resilient and inclusive financial and monetary system, which ultimately helps create more entrepreneurs and jobs,” he added. (PCO-Content)