Tuesday Jun, 18 2024 02:04:00 AM

Marcos signs law granting more allowance to public school teachers

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 07:00 AM Tue Jun 4, 2024
Ma. Teresa Montemayor and Darryl John Esguerra
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (RTVM Screengrab)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has signed into law a measure authorizing an increase in the annual teaching allowance of public school teachers.

Marcos approved Republic Act No. 11997 or the “Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act” during a ceremonial signing in Malacañang Monday afternoon.

The new law sets an initial teaching allowance of PHP5,000 per teacher for School Year (SY) 2024-2025, followed by PHP10,000 for SY 2025-2026 and every year thereafter.

Marcos said the enactment of the Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act is a significant milestone for the education sector as it provides a big support for teachers “so they can concentrate on teaching.”

“I think we're all familiar with the situation when a teacher finds themselves in financial straits. then sometimes, they're distracted and spend their time trying to increase the support that they can provide their families and to the detriment of the actual teaching,” Marcos said in his speech.

“But teachers teach because it is a vocation. It is not a job; it is a vocation. Teachers teach because they feel they have to teach and they want to teach and that's why we must give them the support so that they are allowed to do precisely that,” he said.

The President said it is the government’s task to ensure the welfare of teachers, whom he described as the “unsung heroes” of the society.

“They toil and burn the midnight oil. They teach our children not for money nor for prestige. They serve our country each day by teaching our children the basic foundations to make them responsible and productive citizens,” he said.

“It is our responsibility as the government and as a society to take care of them,” he said.

The Chief Executive thanked members of both chambers of Congress for pursuing the “long-overdue increase” in teaching allowance.

“We have listened, we have persevered, and now we have taken action,” Marcos said.

The initial funding needed for the implementation of the new law will be charged against the budget of the Department of Education.

Thereafter, the amount needed for its enactment will be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

The new law will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Meanwhile, in a Bagong Pilipinas interview on Monday, House Committee on Basic Education and Culture chair, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, said the allowance is previously known as the "chalk allowance," amounting to PHP5,000.

“Ang sinasabi rin niya na hindi subject to income taxation iyong makukuhang amount ‘nung teacher, bakit? (The bill also says that the amount that the teacher will get is not subject to income taxation). Because it is not a benefit, it’s actually an expense, expense of the teacher,” he said.

Citing that the budget for School Year 2024 to 2025 has been set, Romulo said the allowance would not be implemented in July this year but in the next school year.

School calendar transition

Roman said the new academic year starts last week of July and end on April 15, 2025.

“The most effective way of teaching is still face-to-face. That’s why the idea of going back to the old academic calendar came about because it was seen last April, there were many suspensions of face-to-face classes,” he said.

In the past months, schools had to suspend face-to-face classes and shift to online or modular classes due to the extreme heat.

While these may be a good solution, Roman said online classes are challenged by the unstable Internet connection.

Modular classes do not help learners due to lack of guidance from parents who have to go to work to feed their families, he added.

Roman cited the importance of the full implementation of the Matatag Curriculum, particularly in Grade Levels 1, 2, and 3, to improve the quality of education in public schools.

He said learners and teachers are “burdened with many subjects and competencies.”

“Tama iyong Matatag Curriculum, Grade 1, five subjects lang focusing on literacy talaga, ang numeracy; Grade 2, five subjects rin; Grade 3, mag-a-add ka talaga ng one subject because science is important. So iyon lang, dapat five, six (The Matatag Curriculum is right, Grade 1, five subjects focusing on literacy, numeracy; Grade 2, five subjects also; Grade 3, you will add one subject because science is important. So iyon lang, dapat (that should only be five, six),” he said.

Last year, the Department of Education had a pilot implementation of the Matatag Curriculum in 35 schools.

In separate statements, the authors of the Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act in the Senate thanked the President for signing the measure into law

"Ang magiging bagong batas na ito ay katuparan ng matagal nang hiling ng mga guro na magkaroon ng dagdag na panggastos para sa kanilang epektibong pagtuturo (This new law fulfills the long-standing demand of teachers to have more funding for their effective teaching),” Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. said.

Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, said increasing the teaching supplies allowance, or the chalk allowance, would 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,” he said.

Sa bagong batas na pinirmahan ngayong araw ay mas makatarungan na ang halaga para sa teaching supplies allowance. Ito ay bahagi ng pagbibigay halaga natin sa mahalagang trabahong ginagampanan ng ating mga guro para sa ating mga anak (In the new law signed today, the teaching supplies allowance is more equitable. This is part of our appreciation of the important work that our teachers perform for our children),” Angara said. (with a report from Wilnard Bacelonia/PNA)

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