Senator Win Gatchalian on Tuesday hailed the Senate’s approval on the third reading of a measure that would increase teachers’ allowance for teaching supplies.
Senate Bill 1092 or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2020, which Gatchalian co-authored and co-sponsored, aims to institutionalize and increase the annual teaching supplies allowance, previously known as the “chalk allowance,” from the current PHP3,500 to PHP10,000 by the school year 2024-2025.
The increase, however, would be gradual considering the fiscal burden that the country faces because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
For school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, the teaching supplies allowance would be PHP5,000 per teacher, which would increase to PHP7,500 for the school year 2023-2024. By 2024-2025 onwards, the amount would be PHP10,000.
While Gatchalian originally proposed an amount of PHP5,000 for the teaching supplies allowance before the pandemic, he welcomed the increases that, he said, would help teachers cope with challenges in the roll-out of distance learning.
Under the measure, this allowance can be used to purchase teaching supplies and materials for the implementation or conduct of various learning modalities. Once approved into law, the allocation for the teaching supplies allowance will be included in the General Appropriations Act and charged against the budget of the Department of Education.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said that prior to the pandemic, teachers have been shelling out money from their own pockets to augment the teaching supplies’ allowance they receive annually.
The pandemic exacerbated this challenge as teachers face additional expenses related to distance learning, including the cost of internet connectivity, Gatchalian explained.
He said the measure is timely and essential to support teachers who have been serving as “front-liners” of learning continuity.
“Hindi na natin dapat hayaan ang mga gurong mag-abono ng malaking halaga upang magampanan nila ang kanilang tungkulin (We should not allow teachers to use their own money to perform their duties),” he said. (PNA)