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TAX POGO FOR TEACHERS’ PAY HIKE – SIAO

Iligan City Lone District Representative Frederick Siao said he is eyeing to propose a measure that would impose taxes on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) to fund the P10,000 pay hike for public school teachers per month.

Siao, chairperson of the House civil service and professional regulation committee, noted that public school teachers have been “unrelenting” in their push for a pay hike but Congress is at a loss where to find the estimated P126 billion funding to make it happen.

“Lawmakers like him are trying to figure out how to balance the wage issue with the interests of other civil servants.”

The legislator said lawmakers like him are trying to figure out how to balance the wage issue with the interests of other civil servants and other government priorities.

“Right now, the first thing I see that can be taxed heavily to generate the P126 billion annually are those POGOs,” the lawmaker said.

“If POGOs are taxed, allocating the amount for teachers’ pay hike would be possible.”

He explained that if POGOs are taxed or a law should be passed setting P126 billion as government’s share from the whole POGO sector, allocating the amount for teachers’ pay hike would be possible.

“Taxing the POGOs to fund the P10,000 teachers’ pay hike clamor would be like ‘hitting two birds with one stone’ or solving two problems at once. I have to confer with House Ways and Means Committee chairman Representative Joey Salceda to see if this approach is doable,” Siao said.

Siao is the author of House Bill 1992 (An Act Upgrading the Minimum Salary Grade Level of Teachers from Salary Grade 11 to 19) which was consolidated into the Salary Standardization Law-5.

Siao explained that “by labeling the P10,000 as allowances or add-ons to the basic pay, we avoid the complication of increasing the retirement funding which is attached to the basic pay figure.”

“This is the silver lining in this huge challenge,” he concluded.

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