Recto confident there is enough fund for Teaching Supplies Allowance

Published October 15, 2020, 10:25 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Ralph Recto has expressed confidence that the government will be able to fund the increase of the teaching allowance of public school teachers and will not be vetoed.

Senate Ralph Recto
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Recto said the Senate Bill No. 1092 would be “fiscally-responsible, which makes it veto-proof by the President.”

The bill, approved by the Senate on second reading Tuesday, proposes a gradual increase of the annual teaching supplies allowance (TSA) from the current P3,500 to P10,000 in four years.

Beginning school year 2021 to 2022, the allowance would increase to P5,000 until the school year 2023-2024, when it would hike to P7,500, and then to P10,000 starting school year 2024-2025.

“Any contention that government can’t afford it doesn’t fly in the face of facts. Kayang-kaya,” Recto, principal author of the bill, said in a statement Wednesday.

Based on his estimates, the Senate President Pro Tempore said that for next year, the P5,000 teaching supplies allowance for 876,898 public school teachers will total to about P4.38 billion.

“Ang idadagdag lang natin ay (We will only add) P1.3 billion, to what we are currently spending for TSA, pero ang laki ng pakinabang (but it already has significant benefits). Overall, mga 0.8 percent ang TSA ng total DepEd budget, or 80 centavos per 100 pesos (the TSA would be 0.8 percent of the total budget of the Department of Education),” he computed.

For 2023, the allocation for the cash allowance would be P6.57 billion, which he said would only be 1.1 percent of the DepEd’s projected budget.

“By 2024, when the P10,000 yearly TSA starts, its projected P8.87 billion cost will account for 1.35 percent of DepEd’s forecast budget that year, which factors in the increase in the number of teachers,” he pointed out.

Recto said the teachers’ allowance, formerly called the “chalk allowance”, is not anymore enough to shoulder additional expenses from the shift to blended and distance learning modes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the P3,500 only equates to “about P16 a day, not enough for bond paper and internet ‘load’ – which many teachers are forced to buy with their own money.”

“What is needed is a statutory hike,” he appealed.

Counterpart bills on the proposed increase of teaching supplies allowance are still awaiting approval at the committee level in the House of Representatives.