(GMA Network photo courtesy)
MANILA — Committed to making permanent the Teaching Supplies Allowance (TSA) for public school teachers, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. successfully shepherded Senate Bill No. 1964 or the “Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act” during the deliberation of the measure in the chamber’s plenary session on Wednesday evening (May 10).
The solon explained that the same measure have been passed by the Senate during the 17th and 18th Congresses, with him also sponsoring and defending the proposal, and receiving full support from senators without any opposition in its past deliberations.
The bill seeks to institutionalize the Teaching Supplies Allowance, more popularly known as ‘chalk allowance’.
Revilla explained that because of his bill, the TSA will no longer be susceptible to sudden adjustments or non-inclusion in the national budget. Currently, the allowance is provided by a mere special provision in the General Appropriations Act, under the annual budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), with teachers receiving 5,000 pesos. Under Revilla’s measure, teachers will receive 7,500 pesos in 2024; and 10,000 pesos beginning in 2025.
“We need to institutionalize the allowance kasi kapag hindi natin ito ginawan ng batas, pwedeng tanggalin ito kung sino man, yung halimbawa na uupo diyan, at any given time they could take it out”, the lawmaker said explaining why Teaching Supplies Allowance needs to be institutionalized.
Revilla, who has been championing the passage of the measure since the 18th Congress, said that 904,034 public school teachers will benefit when it becomes law. The veteran lawmaker bared that these educators are forced to shell out money from their own pockets in procuring supplies to be used for the actual conduct of teaching.
“Ang nangyayari po diyan Mr. President ay imbis na gastusin nila yung kanilang sahod para sa pamilya, nag-aabono pa sila pambili ng mga chalk, ballpen, bond paper, at pagbili ng load lalong-lalo during the time of the pandemic. Yan po yung mga dagdag gastos para sa mga guro,” Revilla, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation raised.
He further said that he already talked to Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman and was able to get her support for the measure.
The solon further asserted that the budget required for the implementation of the proposed law would not even amount to 1% of DepEd’s budget.
“Yung hinihiling po natin para sa kanila ay less than 1% of the total budget na allocated sa DepEd. We do recognize yung hirap ng ating mga guro. And I think the additional P4.4 billion needed for this ay hindi makakasakit sa coffer ng ating bansa”, Revilla further stressed.