The House of Representatives is under pressure to pass a bill increasing the allowance for teaching materials to P5,000 per school year with public schools set to open on June 5, 2017.
ACT Teachers party-list Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro said that while the Senate had already passed its counterpart proposal, the House has yet to act on House Bill 474.
Last Tuesday, the Senate passed on second reading a counterpart bill. The Senate’s version approval of the bill is scheduled before Congress adjourns sine die on June 2.
HB 474 is pending at the House committee on basic education and culture for action.
The ACT Teachers party-list group filed in June last year House Bill 474, or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act, to increase from P2,500 to P5,000 the cash allowance for the purchase of chalks, erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies and materials.
Popularly known as the “chalk allowance,” it is given yearly to classroom teachers in public schools.
Castro lamented that “another school year is about to open, and our teachers will again feel the pain of buying chalk, papers, and other supplies they use daily in their classrooms using their own money.”
He said Congress must be able to take the opportunity to approve the bill and significantly reduce burden of teachers in buying chalk and other school supplies from their own pockets.
Castro, a former classroom teacher, said increasing the allowance to P5,000 will double teachers’ funds for supplies to P24.75 per school day.
The allowance was only P700 in 2012 but increased to P1,000, then to P1,500 in 2015 and P2,500 this year, he said.
Along with the chalk allowance, Castro said Congress should also increase the maintenance and other operating expenses of public schools.
“The perennial problem of insufficient funds for the maintenance and operations of public schools is what forces our teachers to buy teaching and classroom necessities out of pocket,” he said.