MANILA — A progressive lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Friday slammed the recommendation of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that President Rodrigo Duterte veto a bill increasing the supplies allowance of public school teachers from PHP2,500 to PHP5,000 per school year.
In a statement, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio expressed dismay over Diokno’s recommendation to reject a 100 percent increase of the teaching supplies allowance, also known as “chalk allowance”, which has already been approved by the Senate.
The House version is still pending before the Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
Diokno justified his recommendation by saying that many public schools are now using white boards.
“His justification that many public schools now use whiteboards belies an utter ignorance of the situation on the ground,” Tinio said.
Tinio explained that the “chalk allowance” is not limited just for buying chalk, but also for the purchase of erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies and materials. The said allowance is given yearly to public school teachers.
He further stressed that despite the allowance hike in previous years, the current fund for teaching supplies is still insufficient.
“Despite the fact that we have been able to successfully raise the chalk allowance from a measly PHP700 per year in 2011 to PHP2,500 currently through yearly interventions in the budget hearings, it’s still not enough, and public school teachers continue to pay for teaching supplies out of pocket,” Tinio said.
”Hence, the necessity of enacting the hike. Our own proposal in the House is ready for swift passage. This proposal will cost the government PHP1.5 billion at best,” he added.