Davao City solon seeks ‘tax-free’ P2K allowance for teachers

August 30, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 292 views

WITH the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes, Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte has proposed the grant of a tax-exempt P2,000 allowance per month within the school year for every public school teacher to cover expenses for teaching supplies and materials.

Along with Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, Duterte filed House Bill (HB) No. 3543 to institutionalize the grant of this P2,000 “Teaching Supplies Allowance”, which will cover public school teachers in the basic education sector.

Duterte and Yap said that while “teaching is a profession that serves as a foundation of all other professions,” the salaries that educators receive, particularly public school teachers, are not commensurate to the sacrifices they make in helping shape the future of the country’s youth.

“Teachers serve as the nation’s modern-day heroes—tirelessly providing at par education to the youth and honing them to become valuable members of the society,” they said.

Adding to the rigors of teaching are expenses for supplies and materials that public school teachers frequently buy using their own money, Duterte and Yap pointed out.

Duterte and Yap said their proposed P2,000 cash allowance takes into account the rising prices of commodities, including teaching aids and other related materials.

The bill states that the allowance “shall be exempt from income tax.”

Under their measure, the cash allowance covers the purchase of both “tangible and intangible” teaching supplies and materials for the implementation or conduct of various learning delivery modalities (LDMs) “within the school year.”

The Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) is mandated under the bill to “conduct a periodic review of the Teaching Supplies Allowance, taking into account the current prices of teaching supplies and materials, and, if warranted, recommend the necessary increase in the amount of the allowance.”

Funding for the grant of the allowance shall be charged against the annual budget of the DepEd under the General Appropriations Act (GAA), the bill states.

Currently, the grant of the cash allowance to augment the teaching expenses of public school teachers, formerly known as the “chalk allowance,” is given based on the provisions indicated in the national budget.

Under the 2020 GAA, the cash allowance was P3,500 per school year.

This was later increased to P5,000 per school year under the GAAs for the fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

On August 22, most students in public schools returned to full face-to-face classes. Almost half of the country’s schools will continue implementing five days of face-to-face classes, while the rest have opted for blended learning until October this year.

The DepEd has required all public and private schools to transition to full in-person classes by November 2.

“Public school teachers will have to cope with even more expenses to carry out their responsibilities once full face-to-face classes are implemented. Our proposal will help ease these financial woes,” Duterte said.