Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, on Thursday, February 22, co-authored Senate Bill No. 94, or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2022, which seeks to increase the annual “chalk allowance” provided to teachers to relieve them of the financial burden of purchasing school supplies for their classes. The measure was principally authored by Senator Sonny Angara.
“Maraming guro ang kailangang magtiis sa pag-shoulder ng gastusin sa mga pangangailangan ng kanilang mga estudyante. Minsan, kailangan pa nilang gumastos mula sa kanilang sariling bulsa upang magkaroon ng mga kagamitan sa kanilang klase,” said Go.
“Kung tutuusin, ang mga guro ay dapat na binibigyan ng sapat na benepisyo at konsiderasyon dahil sa kanilang serbisyo sa pagtuturo ng ating mga kabataan. Sila ay nagbibigay ng kanilang oras, kaalaman, at dedikasyon upang masiguro na ang mga bata ay may magandang kinabukasan,” he added.
To address this issue, the government provides teachers with an annual allowance for classroom supplies known as the “chalk allowance.” However, while this allowance has been gradually increased over the years, Go pointed out that it is still not enough to cover the costs of classroom supplies.
In response to this, the proposed Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2022 seeks to increase the annual “chalk allowance” from PhP3,500 to PhP5,000 per teacher per school year.
Under the bill, the cash allowance to teachers for the purchase of chalks, erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies and materials as provided in the annual appropriations for the Department of Education shall be known as the Teaching Supplies Allowance.
The bill also proposes to mandate the Secretary of Education to conduct a periodic review of the Teaching Supplies Allowance, taking into account the current prices of classroom supplies. If necessary, the Secretary shall recommend an increase in the amount of the allowance, and the amount required to cover the increase shall be included in the Department’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
Go said that the measure is an important step towards recognizing the hard work and dedication of public school teachers in the Philippines.
“By providing adequate funding for classroom supplies, the government can ensure that teachers can focus on providing quality education to their students without worrying about their financial burden,” he said.
Go previously stressed that education in the country must remain a priority. He pledged to support policies that strengthen the education sector while also safeguarding students’ and teachers’ health and well-being.
Earlier, he filed SBN 1190 to expand the purposes and application of the Special Education Fund which he proposed to be used for the operation and maintenance of public schools, payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel, competency trainings for teaching personnel, operation of Alternative Learning System, including payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of ALS facilitators; educational research; teaching aids, and other instructional materials, among others.
Go also co-authored the bill which became Republic Act No. 11510 which institutionalized the ALS and improves the delivery of basic education to the underserved and disadvantaged. The law provides the support lacking for typically underrepresented students, such as indigenous students, students from less privileged backgrounds, and students with physical and learning disabilities.
At the height of the pandemic, Go also distributed electronic gadgets to students in need to help them participate in online learning. This gesture helped ensure that students had access to the tools and materials they needed to participate in their classes and complete their assignments during the blended learning set-up.
In 2019, Go also authored and co-sponsored RA 11466, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law 5, which gives civilian government employees, including public school teachers, another round of salary increases broken down in tranches.