Recto wants P10,000 chalk allowance for teachers

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday, November 11 pushed for a higher chalk allowance for teachers amounting to P10,000 per school year, as the Senate panel on introduced the measure to the plenary.

Senator Bong Revilla Jr on Monday sponsored Senate Bill 1902 under Committee Report 14, which consolidated Recto's SB 42, Revilla's SB 75, and Senator Juan Edgardo Angara's SB 957.

The report was submitted jointly by the Senate panels on civil servivce, government reorganization and professional regulation; basic education, arts, and culture; ways and means; and finance.

SB 1092 seeks to increase teachers' chalk allowance to P5,000 per year, from this year's P3,500. The amount roughly translates to a measly P16 per day, Revilla said.

But Recto wants to push the increase a notch higher, by hiking it further to P10,000 a year.

Recto on Monday said that his proposal is not "fiscally irresponsible" in an era of high government expenditures. By raising it to P10,000, the amount needed to fund chalk allowances would be a total of P5.4 billion.

"Chalk dust lang po ito in this era of the mega-trillion annual government expenditures. Compare the P5.4 billion to this year’s P17.2 billion travel budget for the national government personnel," Recto said.

The Senate President Pro-Tempore pointed out that it's the sudents who would benefit from an increase chalk allowance anyway.

"Teaching supplies allowance is not an expenditure, but an investment that yields the highest social and economic ROI (return of investment)," he said.

About a decade ago, the chalk allowance for teachers were at P700 annually under the 2011 budget. It has steadily increased over the years and reached P3,500 this year.

Recto raised that the situation from 5 years ago is different from now where learning strategies have become increasingly digital.

He noted that a teacher's P16 a day would not even suffice to buy even load for internet data.

"If we are not asking our soldiers to buy their own bullets, then why should we be forcing our teachers to buy their own provisions in fighting illiteracy?" Recto said.

Recto signed CR 14 pushing for a P5,000 allowance for teachers as a "half-box of chalk is better than an empty one."

"I urge you, my dear colleagues, to approve this bill, with the amended amount of P10,000. This is not a case of us being generous, but us giving the teachers what is rightfully theirs," Recto said. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.