Higher allowances for teachers pushed

DEPUTY Speaker and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos is proposing higher allowance for public school teachers.

In filing House Bill 3449, Santos lamented that the 840,000 public school teachers most of the times have to spend their personal money to buy teaching materials such as chalks, erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies.

The bill to be called Teaching Supplies Allowance Act, provides that a Teaching Supplies Allowance for the purchase of chalks, erasers, forms and other classroom supplies and materials will be increased to P10,000.

The grant of the cash allowance shall be limited to teachers who are engaged in actual classroom teaching in public basic education.

The bill mandates that in the first year of effectivity of the Act, the amount of P3,500 per teacher per school year shall be charged against the current appropriations of the Department of Education (DepEd) for the Teaching Supplies Allowance, while the additional P6,500 per teacher per school year shall be charged against any available funds and/or savings of the DepEd.

The P10,000 per teacher per school year shall be included in the DepEd budget for Teaching Supplies Allowance under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The Teaching Supplies Allowance shall be exempt from income tax, the measure provides.

Meanwhile, the bill also seeks to increase the present cash allowance of teachers by 185 percent, from the present P3,500 per teacher per school year to P10,000 per teacher per school year.

Inspite of the increasing budget allocation that the DepEd enjoys, Santos-Recto said the cash allowance provided to teachers just translates to a P16 subsidy per day, which is relatively insufficient in assisting classroom teachers to deliver informative lectures and stimulating class discussions to the country’s 22.1 million public school students.

Santos-Recto cited Republic Act 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, mandates that the salaries of public school teachers “shall be such as to insure teachers a reasonable standard of life for themselves and their families.”

Unfortunately, Santos-Recto said the salaries of public school teachers are currently bound by the Salary Standardization Law (SSL), hence, compensation increases would be subject to comparisons with the qualification, skills and difficulties of other positions in the government.