P15,000 annual teaching allowance for teachers pressed

Published October 30, 2020, 4:54 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A federation of teachers has reiterated its call for a P15,000 per year teaching expense allowance for teachers in the 2021 national budget. 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers is alarmed over the financial dent that distance learning has caused to the income of teachers as the first month of distance learning ends.

Citing ground reports, ACT said that for October, teachers have spent a minimum of “P4,000 for those who did not purchase devices and up to P30,000 for those who bought laptops and printers.”

The group accused the Duterte government of “essentially stealing food away from the mouths of our teachers and their families” as it abandons its duty of financing public education. “This very wrong and unfair practice should stop,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

ACT’s inquiry among teachers regarding their out-of-pocket expenses for distance learning showed that those assigned to online learning “incurred hefty costs” on laptop purchase and repair, headset, microphone, Internet bill and data load, and increased electricity consumption.

It said that those facilitating modular learning on the other hand spent for laptop, cellphone load, printer, ink, bond paper, stapler, staple wires, plastic envelopes, and materials for module tags.

“Teachers also marked increased transportation costs given the very limited public transportation available,” the group said.

Basilio noted that there is “no way” that the teachers’ salaries can sustain these costs as such are expected to be repeated monthly. “Huwag namang samantalahin ang dedikasyon ng ating mga guro, kinuha na ang kanilang tulog at pahinga, pati ba naman pang-buhay sa pamilya? (Let’s not take advantage of the dedication of our teachers, we’re taking away their sleep and rest and now we take away what they should be feeding their families)?” he added.

 The maximum take home pay of Teacher I, after deducting contributions, only amounts to P20,430, Basilio said. He alleged that DepEd data showed that an average of P13,000 per month is “automatically deducted” from teachers’ salaries for loan payments.

“There is practically nothing left of our teachers’ salaries due to the distance learning costs that are unjustly passed on to teachers, the government has to do something and be quick about this,” Basilio added.