A party-list legislator on Friday welcomed the “initial gains” of the teachers’ campaigns for allowances in the bicameral conference committee-approved 2021 General Appropriations Act.
But she said it still fell short of the teachers’ demands to adequately fund quality, safe and accessible education for all.
“I welcome the reinstatement of the P1,000 World Teachers Day incentive in the approved bicameral committee report of the 2021 General Appropriations Act, an incentive for teachers that was removed in the initial proposed National Expenditures Program,” Assistant Minority Leader France Castro said.
“I also note that the cash allowance for teachers was also increased from P3,500 to P5,000 for FY 2021, though it lumped expenses for Internet, other communications and medical expenses of teachers. P5,000 for all those expenses for the whole year is a far cry from our proposal of P5,000 teaching supplies allowance, P10,000 internet allowance for the whole school year and P500 medical checkup for every teacher.”
Castro, the nominee of the party-list group ACT Teachers, also noted that the slashed budget items for the Special Education Program in the Malacanang-proposed budget remained unfunded in the approved bicameral conference committee report for the 2021 national budget.
“I am concerned that the important programs of the Department of Education were not funded, particularly those for special children,” Castro said.
“We need to invest more on education so that the Filipino youth will not lag behind in international assessment tests like the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2019 where we only scored 297 in mathematics and 249 in science.
“While the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics showed that the Philippines performed poorly in a region-wide assessment of reading and mathematical and writing literacy.
“How can we expect our youth to lead in these assessment tests if the government gives little to no priority in the essential budgetary items to provide quality education especially amid the pandemic?”