ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro laud the inclusion in the 2017 budget of their proposed amendment to increase the cash allowance for public school teachers for teaching supplies, popularly known as the “chalk allowance.”
According to the Conference Committee Report on House Bill 3408 (FY 2017 General Appropriations Bill), the DepEd budget is given an additional P892 million “to provide funds for site development of public schools and additional P1,000 cash allowance to all teachers,” among other items. The budget amendment will increase the chalk allowance to P2,500 from P1,500 beginning 2017.
The solons filed their proposed amendment to increase the chalk allowance in October 11 with the House Committee on Appropriations. The bicameral budget panel hiked the increase to P2,500.
The solons have long been campaigning to increase the chalk allowance, which is granted to classroom teachers for the purchase of chalks, erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies and materials. Due to the party-list's annual proposed amendment to the national budget, the allowance increased to P1,000 from P700 in 2012, and then to P1,500 in 2015.
“This is a welcome increase, as it will ease the pain of all classroom teachers who pay for their teaching supplies and materials out of their own pockets,” said Castro, a former classroom teacher. “This is only just since, because of the dismally insufficient funds for maintenance and other operating expenses in our public schools, the teachers themselves spend for supplies and materials which they use in their classrooms.”
Tinio also urged for the immediate passage of their House Bill 474, filed in June 30, which seeks to increase the chalk allowance to P5,000 per classroom teacher per school year.
“Our teachers demand a significant increase to P5,000 of chalk allowance, or P24.75 per school day,” said Tinio, using the rate of the chalk allowance for 202 school days in the current school year. “We urge Congress to immediately launch deliberations on this bill, and approve it to give significant economic relief to our teachers who are left to augment inadequate government funds for our schools using their own money.”
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