- Senator Ralph Recto pushed for a higher chalk allowance for teachers, making it a total of P10,000
- “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.
- Senator Bong Revilla Jr. 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
Ralph Recto, the current and temporary Senate President, pushed for a higher chalk allowance for teachers on November 11. The budget that he was pushing for amounted to P10, 000 per school year, as the Senate panel introduced the measure to the plenary.
Ralph Recto Proposes Higher Budget for Chalk
On Monday, Senator Bong Revilla Jr. 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 a joint submission by the Senate panels on civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation; basic education, arts, 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.
Regardless of this bill being in place, Recto wants to push the increase a notch higher, hiking the budget up further to P10,000 a year. He further explains that his proposal is not “fiscally irresponsible” in a time with a government filled with high expenditures. So 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 also pointed out that the end-goal for this proposal is to have the students, who will benefit from an increase in the proposed chalk allowance.
“Teaching supplies allowance is not an expenditure, but an investment that yields the highest social and economic ROI (return of investment),” he said.
Today’s circumstances are compared to that of a decade ago. The chalk allowance for teachers was up to P700 annually under the 2011 budget. It has steadily increased over the years and reached P3,500 this year.
Recto raised the issue that the situation from 5 years ago is vastly different from now where different learning strategies have become increasingly digital in nature. He also noted that a teacher’s 16 pesos a day would not even be sufficient to buy 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.
Recto on Unprogrammed Funds
Earlier, Recto made waves when he proposed that items under the unprogrammed funds of the proposed 2020 national budget should be made available to the public.
In a released statement, Recto said that the P216.3 billion under the unprogrammed appropriations in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP), which was crafted by the Deartment of Budget and Management, were not added to the total amount of the budget.
He said that the proposed national budget for next year is actually higher because of the unprogrammed funds, making the total budget worth P4.316 trillion, instead of the widely-reported amount of P4.1 trillion.
“Barely discussed in this year’s budget preparation season is how the UA have been on steroids. In just two years, it has grown in Incredible Hulk-like proportions and speed,” Recto said.
In a span of 3 years, the amount had tripled to P216 billion for 2020.