Bill for public school teachers' supply allowance passes Senate on 3rd reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) — The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill which institutionalizes the granting to public school teachers of an allowance for teaching supplies and other incidental expenses.

Senate Bill 1964 or the "Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act" seeks to provide an allowance of ₱7,500 per teacher for School Year 2023-2024 and ₱10,000 for School Year 2024-2025 onwards.

It is a teaching allowance, which is not subject to tax, for the purchase of tangible or intangible teaching supplies and materials, the payment of other incidental expenses, and the implementation or conduct of various learning delivery modalities.

"Salamat po sa ating mga kasamahan dito sa Senado sa buong-buong suporta sa panukalang ito," Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla said during his manifestation in the plenary session.

[Translation: Thank you to our colleagues in Senate for their full support to this bill.]

"With the passage of 'Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act', we are giving our dear teachers an assurance that they will always have the Senate as their ally in advocating, pushing, and fighting for their welfare," said Revilla, who principally authored and sponsored the proposed law.

Currently, teachers receive ₱5,000 as teaching supplies allowance, commonly known as "chalk allowance," or just ₱24 a day.

It is provided by a special provision in the General Appropriations Act, under the annual budget of the Department of Education, with an allocation of ₱4.8 billion.

In his sponsorship of the bill, Revilla said the current allowance forces public school teachers to shell out money from their own pockets to buy supplies.

"The current cash allowance already includes a ₱500 allocation for medical examination," said Revilla, the chairperson of Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation.

"If we deduct that from the purchase of teaching materials and equipment, it will drop to ₱22 pesos only per day. A box of chalk costs ₱68, a ream of bond paper costs ₱120, not including the internet load," he said.

He noted that the government would only need to allot an additional ₱2 billion when the allowance reaches ₱7,500 and ₱4.5 billion when it reaches ₱10,000 in 2025.

In a statement, Revilla also appealed to his colleagues in the House of Representatives to make the measure their priority, as it was already passed by the Senate during the 17th and 18th Congresses.

"It is not for me or for all of you," he said. "This is for our hard-working teachers, the shapers of our nation, who have dedicated their lives to nurture our children."