Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto says teachers will have higher allowances and take-home pay next year.
“We can double the chalk allowance, increase the uniform allowance, implement so-called step increments so that teachers will move up the pay scale, and increase the operating fund of schools,” Recto said.
“On top of these, there will also be new tax exemption rates so that teachers will either pay zero tax or a smaller tax on their income. All of the above are doable, and are in the pipeline. They can take effect in 12 weeks, or by January 1,” he added.
Recto made the statement as the House of Representatives threatened to slash the 2018 budget of the Department of Education by nearly P30 billion, citing the agency’s slow use of funds.
But Recto said the funds can instead be used to support “low hanging fruits” such as increasing the allowance of teachers.
“My proposal is that instead of transferring this money to other agencies, why not retain it there but change the intended use, toward the easy to implement, like teacher’s allowances,” Recto said.
Recto is proposing that teachers’ annual uniform allowance be raised to P8,000 from the current P5,000.
“That P8,000 is still half of what jail guards, firemen, policemen and soldiers get,” he explained.
Recto’s proposal is P2,000 higher than the P6,000 recommended by the Duterte administration for all civilian government workers.
Another item that can hiked is the so-called “chalk allowance” which is pegged at P2,500 per teacher annually.
“Let’s make it P5,000. Doubling it will cost less than P2 billion. That is only a fraction of the proposed P30 billion cut,” Recto said. “Chalk allowance is to teachers are what bullets are to soldiers.”