MANILA, Philippines?After hearing many complaints from teachers, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus has ordered the review of a new Department of Education (DepEd) policy requiring that a portion of the clothing allowance of the country's public school teachers this year would be paid in kind rather than in cash.
Lapus directed the Department of Education (DepEd) National Uniform Committee to reconvene and revise the controversial policy decision after members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to the DepEd central office in Pasig on February 4 to appeal the order.
"I have instructed Undersecretary (for Finance Teodoro) Sangil to reconvene the committee and revise," Lapus told the teachers.
ACT chair Antonio Tinio said that Deped's nearly 500,000 personnel were set to acquire around P2 billion worth of new uniforms in 2009.
But under Department of Education Order No. 76, issued on December 24, 2008, the textile materials for two sets of national uniforms will be procured by the DepEd central office and distributed to teachers throughout the country.
The cost of these uniforms, which would be worn on Mondays and Tuesdays, will be deducted from the P4,000 clothing allowance to be given to public school teachers this April.
However, teachers criticized the new clothing allowance policy, preferring to receive the full amount of their clothing allowance in cash so that they could make their own arrangements on how to procure their new uniforms.
"We welcome the prompt response of Secretary Lapus to the clamor of teachers throughout the country. For our part, we will work with the National Uniform Committee to ensure that the revised clothing allowance policy will reflect teachers' preferences," Tinio said.
"This includes not only payment of the allowance in cash, but also the prohibition of the practice of requiring teachers to buy cloth from a particular supplier designated by the regional office or school division. Teachers should be allowed to make their own arrangements with regard to procurement," he added.