Teachers back bills providing higher supply allowance

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Teachers back bills providing higher supply allowance
Grade 2 pupils along with their teachers form a line as they wait for their respective room assignments for their afternoon class at Malanday Elementary School on June 8, 2022.
STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) yesterday expressed support for proposals seeking to provide public school teachers with higher allowance for teaching supplies.

TDC chairman Benjo Basas said the group supports the different versions of the bill that would institutionalize the grant of P10,000 annual teaching supplies allowance for every teacher.

“Currently, public school teachers receive a P5,000 cash allowance, which we previously called chalk allowance. It is important to note that this current amount only started to be given in 2021 or during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic when teachers are in high demand for gadgets and internet connectivity,” Basas said.

“While the amount was raised to its current status, its intended expenses also expanded and now explicitly include internet and communications expenses and even the annual medical and physical examination, which should be provided to teachers for free,” he added.

The group urged lawmakers to consider some of their proposals including the provision of a separate fund for internet and communication expenses of not less than P1,500 per month.

It also called for the implementation of a provision of the 1966 Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, which ensures the provision of free medical check-up, hospitalization and medication for teachers.

In a separate statement, Basas said they welcome a proposed bill filed by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., which seeks to amend the decades-old law.

He noted the government’s failure to implement many of its provisions including the lack of overtime pay and honoraria for overload teaching, incorrect implementation of the special hardship allowance and one salary grade higher upon retirement.

“The Magna Carta ensures other benefits such as consent for transfer and transportation allowance, salary increment from lowest to highest within a maximum period of 10 years, paid study leave for those who served for seven years and criteria set for determination of salaries. We knew for a fact that all these provisions are either implemented in part or not implemented at all,” Basas said.

“Our group, the TDC has been in constant coordination with the leadership of relevant committees in both houses of Congress and other agencies that express support for this advocacy. The law is considered as Bible of the Filipino teachers for its clear and explicit support to ensure the welfare of public school teachers, but unfortunately, many of its provisions are left unimplemented since 1966,” he added.

The proposed amendments include enhancing the provision of special hardship allowance, making study leave with full monthly pay and allowances available to teachers every three years instead of one-time study leave after seven years, extending educational benefits to teachers’ children in the form of a full scholarship in state colleges and universities, and mandating longevity pay for teachers with continuous and satisfactory service.

“The full implementation of the Magna Carta for Teachers and the immediate passing of Senate Bill 849 may not totally eliminate the ills of the education sector, but it will greatly contribute to solving the problems. We believe that in order to fix the education system, the priority must be put on the welfare of our teachers,” said Basas.


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