Press Release
October 14, 2020

Affordable price tag of P10K teaching supplies allowance makes it "veto-proof"

The Senate-approved bill mandating a gradual tripling to P10,000 of the annual Teaching Supplies Allowance (TSA) is "fiscally-responsible, which makes it veto-proof by the President," Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, principal author, said today.

"Any contention that government can't afford it doesn't fly in the face of facts. Kayang-kaya," Recto said.

The bipartisan bill increases what is popularly called the "chalk allowance" to P5,000 a year in school years 2021-22 and 2022-23; to P7,500 in school year 2023-24; and to P10,000 beginning school year 2024-25.

At present, the annual TSA is P3,500 per classroom teacher, "or about P16 a day, not enough for bond paper and internet 'load' - which many teachers are forced to buy with their own money," Recto said.

For next year, the total cost of a P5,000 TSA will be about P4.38 billion, based on 876,898 teachers handling classes, Recto said.

"Ang idadagdag lang natin ay P1.3 billion, to what we are currently spending for TSA, pero ang laki ng pakinabang. Overall, mga 0.8 percent ang TSA ng total DepEd budget, or 80 centavos per 100 pesos," he said.

"Pagsapit naman ng 2023, na P7,500 na ang TSA, ang total cost ay P6.57 billion. Ito ay 1.1 percent lang ng forecast budget ng DepEd sa taong iyon," he said.

By 2024, when the P10,000 yearly TSA kicks in, its projected P8.87 billion cost will account for 1.35 percent of DepEd's forecast budget that year, which factors in the increase in the number of teachers," Recto said.

Recto described the TSA as "a pandemic-hit expense, because blended learning is more expensive. Distance and digital teaching have added costs."

"For example, DepEd has to print at least 100 billion pages of learning modules and broadband is not free," Recto said.

Recto has been championing the increase in TSA for several years now, and had joined senators in successfully increasing rates through past national budgets. "But what is needed is a statutory hike."

He likened teaching supplies "used by teachers in the war against illiteracy to bullets used by soldiers in their battle against the Abu Sayyaf."

"'Yung bala na gamit ng mga sundalo, libre, pero bakit ang ammo na gamit ng mga guro hindi sapat?" Recto said.

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