Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
MANILA, Philippines – Present mechanisms such as the salary standardization and TRAIN Law, which add to the take-home pay of teachers, are already sufficient according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.
This is despite earlier pronouncements of Malacañang about doubling the income of teachers in the Philippines.
Diokno said, at present, the P19,000 entry-level salary is enough for an entry-level instructor in a public school.
This is comparatively higher than the P13,000 wage of teachers in private schools.
“We let that the Salary Standardization Law run its course plus the combination of the TRAIN which, as I said, was unanticipated even at the time the Salary Standardization Law was designed. And then we evaluate where we are by January next year for possible budget proposal in 2020,” Diokno said.
Under the Salary Standardization Law approved by President Aquino in 2015, an increase in the income of teachers is expected until 2019.
While under TRAIN Law, there is an additional take-home pay of up to P3,000 for teachers due to tax exemptions.
Corazon Miguel, a public school instructor for 21 years was dismayed over the agency’s statement.
“There are teachers who go abroad. Why do they want to teach in other countries? Because the salary is enticing,” Miguel said.
In a statement, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition said school teachers should get the biggest chunk of the national budget.
This should also be a priority as it is in the Constitution.
Despite this, ACT Teachers Partylist hopes that DBM will still give way to the clamor for additional income.
“Despite Sec. Diokno’s pronouncements that the salary increase of teachers is not a priority, our president is not named ‘Diokno’. So we expect him to comply and we await a concrete proposal,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said. – Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue
Diokno: Suspension of 2nd tranche of fuel excise tax may affect gov’t fuel subsidies
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
The government assured that it will continue its program that offers assistance to jeepney drivers who are bearing the brunt of surging oil prices.
According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the Pantawid Pasada Program, which seeks to provide a fuel voucher worth P5,000 for each jeepney driver, has been allocated with P977 million in the 2018 national budget.
In 2019, they proposed around P3.2 billion appropriation for the program in hopes of hiking the fuel subsidy to P20,000 for each driver.
But following the announcement on the early suspension of the second tranche of fuel excise taxes next year, Diokno warned that the projected budget may be slashed.
“As I’ve said, the Pantawid Pasada for next year is premised on the two-peso adjustment. Now, if the two-peso adjustment is suspended then the Pantawid Pasada benefits will be based on 2018 but that will continue,” said Diokno.
Diokno has earlier assured that the government’s assistance to poor Filipinos, such as conditional and unconditional cash transfer in 2019, will not be affected if the suspension of the fuel excise tax will push through.
With this assurance, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is confident that the budget for the free tertiary education policy next year will be protected.
“We will be in close coordination with DOF (Department of Finance) so that provision for education will somehow not be affected by any deduction,” said CHED Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jarp. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
Diokno: Suspension of next fuel tax hike won’t affect gov’t social services program
FILE PHOTO: Benjamin Diokno
MANILA, Philippines —The economic managers of the Duterte administration have announced the early suspension of the second tranche of excise taxes on fuel under the tax reform for acceleration and inclusion or TRAIN Law.
This is to help bring down prices of oil and food and proactively anchor inflation expectations.
“It’s not for political reasons. It’s for good reasons; it’s according to the law,” Department of Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III said.
If this move pushes through in 2019, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno estimates that the government will lose around 40 to 41 billion pesos in revenue.
“Tinatawag naming may demonstration effect na yun, pag-announce mo pa lang. Hindi namin pababayan na tumaas pa (We call it demonstration effect just by making an announcement. We won’t let it increase further),” he said.
However, Secretary Diokno assured that the social services of the government, such as the unconditional and conditional cash transfer programs, will not be affected by the possible suspension of the next fuel excise tax.
Even the infrastructure program of the government, which is the primary beneficiary of the fuel excise tax hike, will not be affected.
“Hindi maaapektuhan kasi priority rin yun,” Diokno said.
Instead, the government will have budget cuts on some of its operating expenses for next year to offset the revenue loss.
“Yung mga purchase of vehicles and then yung filling up of positions, yun yung mga medyo nirereview naming (the purchase of vehicles and then the filling up of positions, those are the expenses that we review on),” he added.
For now, the economic managers have formed a task force to review the line items of the proposed 2019 national budget. — Rosalie Coz
Gov’t to suspend Tranche 2 of fuel excise tax in January 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has announced the temporary suspension of the second tranche of fuel excise taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) in view of the further rise in oil prices next month.
Supposedly, TRAIN would add another P2.00/liter to the cost of gasoline and diesel effective January 2019.
In a statement, the DOF confirmed that the Duterte administration’s economic managers already submitted their recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte following consultations from the Senate and House leadership.
“Ipinapahayag po natin ang isang agarang announcement ng temporary suspension ng pagtaas ng oil excise sa Enero 2019, alinsunod sa TRAIN Law. Ginagawa po itong early announcement, dalawang buwan bago nakasaad sa batas, para maibsan ang inflationary pressure at mapabuti ang kalagayan ng sambayanang Pilipino,” DOF said in a statement.
The agency explained that based on the provision of TRAIN Law, if the price of oil continues to rise to more than $80/barrel in three consecutive months, the government will need to suspend the implementation of excise tax increase in 2019.
This, despite the government having around P40B in revenue loss from taxes.
The DOF said the government is still giving utmost consideration to the Filipino people who are suffering the burden of high prices of basic goods.
Nevertheless, the agency said President Rodrigo Duterte is personally monitoring the price of oil in the global market as well as the price of other basic commodities.
The DOF said such measure is one of the options that the government is considering to alleviate the impact of inflation to the Filipinos.
“Malinaw sa presyo ngayon at sa futures market na lalagpas tayo sa threshold at ito ang basehan nitong agarang anunsyo ng gobyerno. Tuloy-tuloy naman ang mga aksyon ng Administrasyong Duterte para paramihin ang supply ng mga pangunahing produktong agrikultura para bumaba ang presyo ng pagkain sa ating mga pamilihan,” the announcement read further. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)