By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture formed Tuesday a technical working group (TWG) that would consolidate the five measures seeking to provide teaching supplies allowance for public school teachers after teachers’ groups sought an increase in their chalk allowance.
The House panel, chaired by Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, designated Negros Occidental Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva to be the chairman of the TWG.
It was Deputy Majority Leader and Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Wilter “Sharky” Wee Palma II who moved for the formation of the TWG panel.
Before the approval of Palma’s motion, ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro said the current P3,500 teaching supplies allowance of the teachers be increased to P5,000.
“Dahil alam nyo ang mga teachers lang mga empleyado ng gobyerno na bumibili ng kanilang supplies, other employees ay kinukuha sa budget. Sana madagdagan pa ang teaching allowance ng mga teachers natin, at least P5,000 dahil sa tototo lang hindi lang chalk ang binibili ng teachers ngayon as materials, bumibili din sila ng iba’t ibang materials like lapel, internet connection,” she said.
“Sana ang panukalang batas na ito ay maaprubahan na ng Kongreso,” she said.
Other authors of the bills are Deputy Speakers Luis Raymund ‘LRay’ Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur and Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, and A-Teacher partylist Rep. Ma. Victoria Umali.
During the first initial deliberations on the measures, Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) president Solita Daz said they are not receiving enough assistance from the DepEd as far as the provision on teaching supplies is concerned.
“Ang nangyayari po sa pangangailangan ng mga guro, partikular po, halimbawa po sa isang departmento, sa Filipino Department, ang ibinigay lang ay isang rim ng coupon bond. Ang gagagamit po ay labing apat na guro. Ang binibigay ay dalwang piraso na pentel pen, isang stapler. Sa totoo lang po anong mangyayari sa coupon bond na yun?,” she asked.
“Ilan po kaming guro, 14 kami. Hindi po kami gumagawa ng isang lesson plan sa isang buwan, lesson plan po ay sa isang araw na gumagamit ng hanggang labingdalwang pahina…HIndi po sapat na nakukuha namin na tulong. Kulang na kulang po ang assistance na tinatanggap namin,” she said.
ACT national chair Jocelyn Martinez told the Romulo panel that the teachers have been spending their own money to buy their teaching materials, lamenting that the current P3,500 chalk allowance is not enough.
“Sa isang buwan po ay gumagastos kami ng P1,280. Ang budget lang po na binibigay sa amin ay P350. Tingnan nyo po kulang kulang na, nakakapanlumo po ito. May mga gamit kami sa aming mga bahay dadalhin namin sa school para magamit ng aming mga estudyante,” she said.
“Kaya yung P3,500 ay hindi talaga sapat. Kami ay nagsusumamo na ito ay madagdagan na,” she added.
The Department of Education (DepEd), led by Secretary Leonor Briones expressed support to the measures.
The chalk allowance of teachers was initially pegged at P1,000 but was raised to P1,500 in 2015. After two years, it was increased to P2,500 and P3,500 in 2018.