THE Senate unanimously passed Monday on third and final reading an enabling legislation increasing the yearly supplies allowance of of all public school teachers.
With a unanimous vote of 22 senators present, Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1964, to be known as or the Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act, inched closer to ratification and enrolment for the President’s signing it into law.
Its principal sponsor, Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., noted public school teachers are “overworked and yet, underpaid,” receiving only P24 a day under the current P5,000 teaching supplies allowance for the entire schoolyear.
“The current cash allowance also includes a P500 allocation for medical examination; if we deduct that from the purchase of teaching materials and equipment, it will only drop to P22 pesos per day. A box of chalk costs P68, a ream of bond paper costs P120, not including the internet load,” Revilla said in his sponsorship speech.
“Teaching is the one profession that creates other professions, even the President of the country or even the bravest Senator — their thoughts and personality were shaped by our teachers,” Revilla said in mixed Filipino and English.
Under Senate Bill 1964 the teaching allowance gradually increases from the current P5,000 to P7,500 for school year 2023-2024 and P10,000 per teacher in the succeeding school years. The additional benefits shall not be subject to tax, it added.
Revilla also noted that the current teachers allowance allocation under the General Appropriations Act is P4.8 billion. He added the government only needs to allocate an additional P2 billion when the amount reaches P7,500; and P4.5 billion when it reaches P10,000 in the year 2025.
“This is less than one percent of the total budget of the Department of Education in this era of the trillion-peso budget, it is too little for us to deny,” said Revilla, who also sits as chairman of the Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation.
Revilla noted that “this very little support from the government is a huge help to every teacher, especially to those who intend to stay in the country and do not want to exchange their profession for dollars abroad.”
The senator thanked his colleagues for their support for the passage of Senate Bill No 1964, a substitution of SBNs 22, 94, 677, 1045, 1729 and 1831 authored by Revilla and Senators Robinhood Padilla, Sonny Angara, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Joel Villanueva, Mark Villar, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and Win Gatchalian.
“Thank you to our colleagues here in the Senate for their full support of this proposal. With the passage of the ‘Kabilikat sa Pagtuturo Act,’ we are giving our dear teachers an assurance that they will always have the Senate as their ally in advocating, pushing, and fighting for their welfare” the senator said. Butch Fernandez
The lawmaker also appealed to the House of Representatives to consider the approval of the measure. “I appeal to our colleagues in the lower house to make this measure their priority. This was already passed by the Senate during the 17th and 18th Congresses. It is not for me or for all of you. This is for our hard-working teachers, the shapers of our nation, who have dedicated their lives to nurture our children,” the senator said.