CO-SPONSORSHIP SPEECH: Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2019

CO-SPONSORSHIP SPEECH: Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2019

Co-Sponsorship Speech

Senate Bill No. 1092 / Committee Report No. 14


November 11, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.

Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines


Delivered by HON. WIN GATCHALIAN, Senator of the Republic:


Mr. President, honorable colleagues in the Senate, good afternoon.


We always acknowledge the important role that teachers play in shaping the character of our nation. For the past years, Mr. President, the Department of Education has been receiving the biggest slice of the annual budget pie. Despite this strong budgetary support, however, we recognize that resources allotted to teachers are still inadequate.


We have proposed different measures that will help ease, if not alleviate, the burden of eight hundred forty thousand (840,000) public school teachers looking after twenty-two point one (22.1) million students. These include salary hikes and added benefits that will help our school teachers lead a better life, which is the vision of Republic Act No. 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.


In realizing this vision, we tend to forget that teaching supplies are not often tallied like other items on education spending. While this may seem insignificant compared to other issues surrounding our education system, this is no less material to our public school teachers.


Every year, public school teachers receive three thousand five hundred pesos (P3,500) annually for their teaching supplies. For entry-level teachers making twenty thousand seven hundred fifty-four (P20,754) pesos in a month, this annual budget equates to around sixteen point nine (16.9) percent of their monthly salary. If we divide this annual budget to ten months of school, teachers would get three hundred fifty (P350) pesos a month and that is probably just enough for a ream of bond paper.


This budget, known as the chalk allowance, amounted to seven hundred (P700) pesos in 2011, but despite this significant increase, the present chalk allowance is only equivalent to about sixteen pesos (P16) per school day. With that amount, you can probably get one low-cost pen, a pencil, or a few sheets of paper in a day. This leaves teachers with no choice but to shell out money to support classroom activities and facilitate class discussions.


In the passage of the 2019 budget, there was already a proposal to increase the chalk allowance but this was not granted. It is also worth noting that the chalk allowance is provided for annually under the General Appropriations Act. This means that the budget can either increase or decrease subject to the proposal of Congress and the approval of the President, making our teachers’ financial conditions more vulnerable.


Naglalabas na nga po sila ng pera mula sa sarili nilang bulsa, wala pang kasiguruhan na magpapatuloy ang suportang natatanggap nila para magkaroon ng sapat na gamit at makapagturo nang maayos. It is high time that we give teachers a greater sense of security when it comes to funding their teaching supplies.


Mr. President, as co-author and co-sponsor, I strongly support the proposal that would institutionalize the increase of our teachers’ chalk allowance to five thousand (P5,000) pesos. This amount will be periodically reviewed by the Department of Education for necessary increases in the following years.


In both chambers of Congress, there are several bills that aim to institutionalize this increase in teaching supplies allowance— four (4) in the Senate and eight (8) in the House. This is an indication that there is broad support for this proposal. It is only fair that we give our teachers every bit of support for the service they do to our country.


We are always inspired by teachers who do everything they can to ensure that our students’ learning experiences are never compromised despite the limitations.


At this point, Mr. President, I also can’t help but think of the teachers in Mindanao’s quake-jolted areas, who are doing their best to restore normalcy to more than four (4) million affected students. In the aftermath


of disasters like this, one can’t help but admire and express gratitude for the teachers who are going the extra mile, sacrificing their own finances so that students’ education are never disrupted. They do all these while helping their own families recover from the effects of the disaster.


This is the kind of sacrifice that our teachers are making and while we can shower them with all the respect and gratefulness, they also deserve to be supported in a way that eases their financial woes.


This measure was already approved on third and final reading in the 17th Congress. I urge my colleagues to work with us to ensure the quick passage of this measure. Thank you, Mr. President.