A well-deserved intervention for teachers

Posted by watchmen
June 11, 2024
Posted in Better Days, OPINION


By Sonny Angara

On June 3, 2024, we witnessed President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. signing into law the Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act or the institutionalization of the grant of teaching supplies allowance for our public school teachers. Known among the teaching profession as the “chalk allowance,” funding for this expenditure item is sourced from the budget of the Department of Education and is intended to assist teachers in their procurement of teaching supplies, such as cartolina and manila paper, pens and chalk, hence the moniker chalk allowance. Apart from institutionalizing the funding for this much needed expense of our educators, the law increases the amount provided at P10,000 annually for each teacher.

Looking back to the years 2010 and 2011, public school teachers were provided with a mere P700 per school year as their chalk allowance. A minimal increase of P300 was implemented in the next three years, bringing the annual chalk allowance to P1,000 per teacher. In 2015 and 2016, the amount was increased further to P1,500 a year. Clearly, the amounts given to our overworked and underpaid teachers for what should have been provided to them as part of their regular supplies in the first place is not enough.

For years, Congress has intervened and continued to introduce gradual increases in the chalk allowance. In 2017, the amount was increased by P1,000, bringing the total to P2,500 a year. This was increased further to P3,500 in 2018, an amount that was maintained until 2020. The 2020 General Appropriations Act was the first that we handled as chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Finance and hearing from our primary school educators, it was very clear that the chalk allowance was important to them in the performance of their duties.

In 2021, with the support of our colleagues from the Senate and the House of Representatives, we were able to hike the chalk allowance to P5,000. In the succeeding years up to the current year, we maintained the P5,000 allocation. Starting 2025, the amount will double to P10,000 as provided for in the law. As an author of the new law, we were aware that increasing the teaching supplies allowance will result in fewer instances when teachers have to make out of pocket expenses in the performance of their duties. Our overworked and underpaid educators should always be supported and initiatives such as these will go a long way in showing our appreciation of what they do for our children’s development. We thank the President for supporting the measure and for looking after our teachers’ welfare and also to Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., the chairman of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation, for sponsoring the bill.

I have always admired and respected the work of our teachers. The value of education was instilled in me early on in life. My mom was a teacher in her younger years and my dad had accomplished so much in his lifetime for the growth and continued development of the country’s education system. This is why education has been one of my main advocacies in my 20 years in public service. Some of my most important work has been on the education front, including the institutionalization of kindergarten as part of basic education in the country (RA 10157); the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST), which reconciles, improves, strengthens, expands, and puts under one body all government-funded modalities of Student Financial Assistance Programs for tertiary education and special purpose education assistance in both public and private institutions; the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA), which institutionalized the free tuition in state universities and colleges across the country; and the creation of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) to conduct a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the Philippine education sector.

Under the current 19th Congress, we have filed several bills for the benefit of our teachers. These are SBN 1169 or Teachers’ Home in School Act, which seeks to provide public school teachers with living facilities within the schools they or at the nearest location to the schools where they teach; SBN 908 that proposes to lower the optional retirement age of public school teachers from 60 to 55; SBN 632 or the Teacher Protection Act that will provide teachers with free legal assistance and trainings in matters involving classroom management and discipline; and SBN 324 or the upgrading of the minimum salary grade of teachers from SG 11 to SG 19 (our current Senate President Francis Escudero asked to be a co-author of the bill in 2022).

In order to improve the standard of Philippine education and to ensure that our learners are getting the education that they need to become, not only productive members of society, but also competitive with their counterparts around the world, we need to continuously invest in our teachers and give them the appropriate support.



Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 20 years — 9 years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and 11 as Senator. He has authored, co-authored, and sponsored more than 330 laws.  He is currently serving his second term in the Senate.



Email: sensonnyangara@yahoo.com | Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara/WDJ

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