Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has denied the claim of a group of private school officials that public school teachers are being spoiled through the proposed increase in their teaching supplies allowance, also known as the chalk allowance.
“Public school teachers are not being spoiled, but are only given what is due them,” Revilla said.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization, and Professional Regulation reacted to a statement from the Federation of Associations of Private Schools Administrators that politicians were “spoiling the public school teachers with perks” while parents are tasked to monitor their children’s studies at home.
Among other pending pieces of legislation that allegedly spoils public school teachers, the FAPSA identified the Senate Bill No. 1092 which seeks the gradual increase of the so-called chalk allowance for public basic education teachers to P10,000 in four years.
Revilla sponsored the bill, which the Senate approved on second reading Tuesday.
“The teaching supplies allowance being granted to them is intended to assist them in performing their responsibilities especially during this new normal. As they will now employ new learning modalities for teaching, they are now obliged to conduct classes online, they are burdened with the need for, among others, proper gadgets and reliable Internet connection,” Revilla said.
“It is only proper for the government to support them in performing these responsibilities,” he added.
The lawmaker said that while the cash allowance will only be given to the teachers, “the benefit is expected to enhance the delivery of the public education; hence, will be felt by the students.”
“The allowance is less than a direct personal pocket money to the teaching personnel, and more of a subsidy to the expenses incurred in the performance of their duties,” he said.
He also believes that the proposed allowance hike will not contribute to the economic well-being of the public school teachers, “as the allowance could hardly cover the huge expenses posed by the challenges of the situation.”
“Even before the pandemic, teachers were forced to shell out personal money to buy chalk, Manila paper, and other materials for visual aids, even cleaning supplies for their classroom, sometimes providing basic educational tools and even ‘baon’ for their students, with their desire to ensure that they are able to provide the best learning experience for the children,” he said.
FAPSA president Eleazardo Kasilag said public school teachers “still enjoyed their monthly salaries in full” besides other incentives and allowances despite their “unloaded” workload supposedly due to the implementation of the K-to-12 curriculum.
He added that since public school teachers are allowed to work from home, they are freed from transportation costs. On the other hand, he said parents “do half of the work and they are the ones directly involved” amid the shift to blended and distance learning.
“The politicians spoil the teachers for what they want, not what they need,” Kasilag said, stressing that public school teachers still complain of meager pay.