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Solons appeal to House leadership to prioritize chalk allowance bill

Two militant lawmakers on Monday appealed to the leadership of the House of Representatives to prioritize the approval of a bill increasing the allowance for teaching supplies of public school teachers to P5,000 annually.

ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro made the appeal after the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, chaired by Cebu Rep. Ramon Durano, approved House Bill 474 recently.

Tinio and Castro authored the bill, or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act, which increases from P3,500 to P5,000 the cash allowance given yearly to classroom teachers in public schools for the purchase of chalks, erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies and materials.

The Senate approved on third reading the counterpart bill on May 30, 2017. Last September, the House basic education committee adopted the Senate version of the bill.

“More than two years have already passed since we filed this measure. One year after the Senate’s approval, we are expecting the Lower House to act swiftly for this bill’s approval,” Tinio said. 

Castro said with only P3,500 chalk allowance for this current school year, public school teachers were forced to shell out from their own pockets for the supplies they use daily in their classrooms. 

“Congress should grab this opportunity to significantly improve their plight.”

“Through the active and consistent mass campaign of teachers’ groups and unions under Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines as well as our yearly interventions in the budget hearings, we have been able to successfully raise the chalk allowance from a measly P700 per year in P1,000 in 2012, P1,500 in 2016, P2,500 in 2017, to P3,500 this year,” Castro said.

“Despite the increases, P3,500 a year or P16.83 per school day is barely enough. The Department of Education expects them to deliver what they call ‘21st century teaching’ without ensuring that they are provided with laptops, Internet connection, flash drives, printers and other gadgets needed to meet the increasing demands,” she added. 

“With the TRAIN Law-induced steep acceleration of the inflation rate beginning in 2018, public school teachers have been suffering due to unprecedented increase of the prices of basic commodities.” 

“Now more than ever, public school teachers’ chalk allowance should be increased to P5,000. We urge the leadership of both houses of Congress to ensure the immediate passage of this measure,” they added.

Topics: House of Representatives , Antonio Tinio , France Castro , Ramon Durano
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