Press Release
May 31, 2008


He says the P500 yearly allowance given by the gov't should be increased to P2000

Senator Chiz Ecudero today likened the P500 given yearly by the government to public school teachers for chalk and teaching supplies "to handing out a few bullets to a soldier going to war."

Sen. Chiz Escudero said the P500 "chalk allowance" that a teacher receives at the start of classes in June won't be enough for the teaching aids and instructional materials that will be used and needed for 210 class days.

"By any measure, that's not enough for the chalk, papers, cartolinas, lesson plans, pen and other supplies which are indispensable to teaching, " Escudero said.

"How on earth can you teach effectively if you're given P2.50 a day for these things? And Malacanang has the gall to prod teachers to do powerpoints? " he said.

Escudero said government should increase the chalk allowance to P2,000, if not in one time, then in phases, "beginning to P1,000 next year."

He said every P500 increase in the said allowance would cost the government P257 million a year, "or equivalent only to what it earns in six days from the windfall in VAT collections caused by higher oil prices."

It is also a "speck" compared to the P26 billion that government planned to spend for the now-shelved Cyber-education project, Escudero said.

"If it is daring enough to dream of electronically-linking schools using borrowed Chinese money, then government has no reason to be stingy when it comes to aiding public mentors to teach well," he said.

For years, the annual chalk allowance was nailed at P300, until the 2008 budget passed by Congress raised it to P500, allowing President Arroyo to hand out checks showing the increased amount in high-profile visits to public schools this week.

Not counting the 10,000 that will be created this year; there are 515,062 authorized teaching positions in the DepEd roster.

The DepEd has a budget of P140 billion this year, including the P2 -billion school-building fund, which is treated as a separate item in the budget.

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