MANILA, Philippines – Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno will recommend that President Duterte reject the proposed bill to double the supplies allowance of public school teachers, which the Senate has approved on third and final reading.
The Teaching Supplies Allowance Act 2017, which proposed a 100 percent increase in the “chalk allowance” from P2,500 to P5,000, was approved by the Senate with a vote of 21-0. But a counterpart measure must also be passed at the House of Representatives.
The chalk allowance is given to public school teachers at the beginning of the school year to cover the cost of supplies intended to enhance teaching methods, such as pencils, paper and as the name suggests, chalk.
Diokno said he found it strange that lawmakers came up with the measure, when the FY 2018 budget for education already provided for the increase. A professor at the University of the Philippines himself, he also noted that many public schools are now using white boards.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, principal author of the proposed bill, said the increase in the chalk allowance would allow teachers to afford other items that would assist them in their jobs, such as computers and internet-use supplies.
“Chalk, pens, papers and cartolinas are to teachers what bullets and combat rations are to soldiers. In the war against illiteracy, these are the ammo our teachers use, and with the little supplied to them, they can only improve as much,” Recto said.
According to Recto, doubling the chalk allowance would cost the government P4 billion based on the 2017 Department of Education teaching workforce of 797,119.
The Department of Budget and Management will also be reviewing the bicameral report on the ratified free tuition in all state universities and colleges to determine funding.
Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay, Diokno said he is open to free tuition, so long as it directly benefits poor but qualified students.
source: Philstar Global