Senate OKs teaching allowance grant

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to increase the yearly supplies allowance of teachers in all public schools.

With 22 affirmative votes, no negative votes and abstentions, Senate Bill No. 1964, or the Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act, inches towards ratification and enrolment for the President’s signature.

Under SBN 1964, the teaching allowance gradually increases from the current P5,000 to P7,500 for the school year 2023–2024 and P10,000 per teacher in the succeeding school years.

The proposed measure also states that “additional benefits shall not be subject to tax.”

The Senate passed the same measure on third reading during the 17th and 18th Congresses.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., the principal author and sponsor of the measure, noted that public school teachers are overworked and yet underpaid, receiving only P24 a day under the current P5,000 teaching supplies allowance for the entire school year.

In his sponsorship last week, Revilla explained that the current cash allowance also includes a P500 allocation for medical examination.

“If we deduct that from the purchase of teaching materials and equipment, it will only drop to P22 pesos per day. A box of chalk costs P68, a ream of bond paper costs P120, not including the internet load,” he said.

“Teaching is the one profession that creates other professions, even the President of the country or even the bravest Senator — their thoughts and personality were shaped by our teachers,” he added.

The lawmaker assured that there is adequate funding for the implementation of the proposed measure under the General Appropriations Act amounting to P4.8 billion.

He said the government only needs to allocate an additional P2 billion when the amount reaches P7,500 and P4.5 billion when it reaches P10,000 in the year 2025.

“This is less than one percent of the total budget of the Department of Education in this era of the trillion-peso budget, it is too little for us to deny,” he said.

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