Voting 22-0, the Senate has passed on third and final reading the bill that would institutionalize and increase the yearly teaching supplies allowance given to public school teachers.
On the resumption of their sessions Monday, senators unanimously approved the Senate Bill No. 1092, which proposes a staggered raise of the teaching supplies allowance to P10,000 in four years.
Under the proposed “Teaching Supplies Allowance Act”, the current teaching supplies allowance of P3,500 will increase to P5,000 starting the school year 2021 to 2022.
By school year 2023 to 2024, the cash allowance will again be raised to P7,500. and will increase to P10,000 in 2024.
The bill said the cash allowance shall be used for the purchase of “tangible and intangible” teaching supplies and materials for the implementation of various teaching modalities and will cover teachers “who are engaged in teaching public basic education, consistent with the learning modalities recognized by the Department of Education (DepEd)”.
The DepEd will be tasked to conduct a periodic review of the current prices of teaching materials and recommend the necessary increases.
The allowance shall be exempt from income tax. Funds for the cash grant shall be included in the DepEd’s annual budget under the General Appropriations Act.
Meanwhile, counterpart bills in the House of Representatives on the proposed increase of the teaching supplies allowance are still awaiting approval at the committee level.
Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., sponsor of the SB No. 1092, said he hopes that the Lower House would adopt the Senate’s version and that President Duterte will immediately sign it.
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara informed his colleagues that funds for the implementation of the increase were already included in the proposed 2021 national budget ahead of the passage of a counterpart bill in the House.
Angara chairs the Senate finance committee handling the proposed budget for next year. He also co-authored the SB No. 1092.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, a principal author of the measure, earlier said that the proposed increase in Senate Bill No. 1092 would be “fiscally-responsible, which makes it veto-proof by the President.”
Public school teachers have been requesting for the additional cash aid from the government for their teaching supplies and materials following the shift to blended and distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have passed once again this measure that recognizes the hardships and sacrifices, the invaluable contributions of our teachers to the society,” Revilla said during their session, thanking his colleagues for their support of the bill.
“We are a step closer to realizing a better working environment for our teachers. However, there are still a lot of things to be done to uplift and improve the welfare of our teachers,” he added.
The teaching supplies allowance is formerly called the “chalk allowance”.