The proposal to increase the teachers’ chalk allowance may finally be passed before the end of the year, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said yesterday.

Recto said he was expecting Senate Bill 812, which would raise the annual teaching supplies allowance for each public school teacher from the current average of P1,500 to P3,500, had been brought to plenary for debates.

More commonly known as the “chalk allowance,” Recto argued that the current P1,500, which would translate to a mere P7 daily on a 202-day academic year, was clearly not enough.

The so-called “chalk allowance” is given to teachers at the start of the school year for the purchase of chalk, pens, erasers, paper and other supplies needed for teaching.

By raising this allowance, Recto said teachers would be able to purchase other items that would enhance their teaching methods such as computer and internet-use supplies.

“In this digital age, there are computer-related supplies the teacher uses and these must be considered in computing the supplies they need,” Recto said.

“I agree that it won’t personally enrich the teachers but it will somehow enrich the way they teach,” he added.

While the executive branch could raise this allowance anytime, Recto said a law mandating the increase would ensure that the teachers would not be stuck with the P1,500 that had been the going rate since 2014.

Recto recalled that the P1,500 rate was brought about by the intervention that he and Sen. Francis Escudero, who was then chairman of the Senate committee on finance, made two years ago.

Because it involves such a small amount compared to the other items in the national budget, Recto lamented that the chalk allowance always ended up being overlooked.

The increase in the chalk allowance would cost the government P2.78 billion based on the Department of Education’s estimated teaching workforce of 797,119.

Based on the bill, the P1,500 allowance for each teacher will be sourced from the budget of the DepEd while the balance of P2,000 would come from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“It may be a mere speck in the budget but it cannot be dismissed as unimportant. Chalk and pens, papers and cartolinas are to teachers what bullets and combat rations are to soldiers,” Recto said.

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