MANILA — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Tuesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to speed up the reimbursement of communication expenses worth P300 per month.
In a letter to the DepEd, ACT said it received numerous complaints from teachers who have not received the reimbursement of their communication expenses or got an incomplete amount.
Under DepEd Order No. 38, issued last November, DepEd personnel may claim a reimbursement worth P300 per month for communication expenses incurred from March to December 2020.
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said teachers have not fully benefitted from the reimbursement due to insufficient school funds, stringent and unreasonable requirements, poor information dissemination about the order, and lack of uniform implementation of the order on the ground.
"The tedious and unreasonable refund process for a measly amount is already too insulting for our teachers," Basilio said.
Basilio also urged the DepEd to release delayed teachers' benefits, such as the performance-based bonus from 2019 and service recognition incentives from 2020.
In a separate statement issued Monday, the Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) said it also received complaints about difficulties in reimbursing communication expenses.
"Natutuwa kami dahil mayroong ilalaang P300 para sa aming nagastos bagama't kulang na kulang ito. Pero sana huwag nang pahirapan sa reimburesement ang mga guro," said TDC Secretary General Emmalyn Carpio.
(We're happy that they're giving us P300 for our expenses though it's a measly amount. However, we're appealing that the reimbursement process shouldn't be hard for our teachers.)
Under the order, heads of offices are required to issue a certification identifying personnel who are authorized to claim reimbursement of communication expenses. They also need to affirm that "these [expenses] were incurred in the performance of their official duties and responsibilities."
According to the order, personnel are also asked to provide proof of purchase or payment, such as an official receipt for the purchase of a prepaid card or payment of a postpaid line or internet subscription, among others.
Policarpio said some teachers are having difficulties with the requirements.
"Maghahanap pa ba kami ng resibo sa loading station o tindahan mula Marso para makakuha niyan? Paano kung hindi kami maka-produce? Hindi na bibigyan?" she said.
(Do we still need to look for receipts at the loading station or store starting from March just to get the reimbursement? What if we are not able to produce these? Will we no longer be given the reimbursement?)
Meanwhile, ACT reiterated its demand for the government to give P1,500 per month to education workers who are working from home, adding that it should not be charged from their salaries.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the DepEd for a comment but it has yet to receive a response as of writing.