MANILA (UPDATE2) - The Senate on Monday unanimously approved on final reading a bill that would increase to P5,000 beginning next school year the annual supplies allowance of teachers engaged in public basic education.
Without the measure, teachers will continue to receive P3,600 in school supplies allowance every school year, which is equivalent to P16 per day, Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., who sponsored the bill, said in plenary.
"Nagbago na ang modalities ng pagtuturo dahil sa pandemiya. Kailangan nating armasan at bigyan ng tamang kagamitan sa pagtuturo ang ating mga guro," he said.
(The modalities in teaching have changed because of the pandemic. We need to arm our teachers with the proper tools.)
While the House has yet to pass a counterpart measure, teachers may begin receiving the increased allowance next school year, Senate Committee on Finance chair Sonny Angara said.
"We included the increase already even if the House has not yet passed the measure," he said.
Under the 2021 budget, P4.36 billion has been allocated for the said allowance, Angara told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
Senate Bill No. 1092 states that teachers' school supplies allowance will be increased to the following levels accordingly:
SY 2021-2020 and 2022-2023 - P5,000
SY 2023-2024 - P7,500
SY 2024-2025 - P10,000
"Malaking tulong po itong pagtaas ng allowance ng mga guro sa public schools dahil mas marami silang pangangailangan ngayong may distance learning tulad ng bond paper at internet load, at iba pang mga kagamitan," Senate Committee on Higher Education chair Joel Villanueva said in a statement.
(This increase in allowance is a big help for public school teachers because they have more needs now, like bond paper, internet load, and other paraphernalia, due to distance learning.)
"Ang dagdag allowance... ay pagsisiguro na sapat ang gamit ng mga guro para maturuan nang maayos ang ating mga mag-aaral," he said.
(The allowance increase ensures that teachers will have enough materials to educate our students.)
Last year, the Senate passed a similar bill, but it was not enacted into law after the House of Representatives failed to legislate a counterpart measure.
"We are a step closer to realizing a better work environment for our teachers, but we are cognizant of the tremendous demands of this profession," said Revilla.
"There are still a lot of things that need to be done to uplift and improve the welfare of our teachers," he added.
In September, the Department of Education promised to give public school teachers a separate P1,500-allowance this year for their medical expenses and as an incentive in celebration of World Teachers' Day.