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Teachers get more cash

/ 05:42 AM January 01, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Public school teachers will get a P1,500 increase in their teaching and connectivity allowance this year, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced on Wednesday.

Under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2021 signed by President Duterte on Tuesday, teachers would receive P5,000 instead of P3,500 to help them as they conduct online classes.

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“With this positive development, we believe that our lawmakers will continue to support our initiatives for the welfare of our teachers and learners and the improvement of education in the country,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.

The education sector was allocated the biggest chunk of the 2021 budget pie at P708.181 billion.

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The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), however, called the allowance hike an “insult” to teachers who were allowed last year to seek up to P300 a month in reimbursements for their internet expenses.

According to ACT, P500 of the P1,500 hike was for the annual medical allowance of teachers, leaving them with only P1,000 for their communications and internet expenses this year. Divided by 12 months, it would come down to a little over P83 a month.

In a text message to reporters, Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd undersecretary for finance, said only the P1,000 World Teacher’s Day incentive bonus was granted under the signed GAA, not the P500 medical allowance.

Concern, compassion not felt

On Nov. 20, Briones signed Department Order No. 038 which authorized the payment of DepEd personnel’s mobile and internet connection expenses—under a work-from-home arrangement — between March 16 and December last year.

Briones said the monthly reimbursement should not exceed P300 each and would be charged against the available maintenance and other operating expenses of public schools and the DepEd’s central, regional and schools division offices, depending on the availability of funds.

However, she clarified that any charges in excess of the P300 cap must be shouldered by the DepEd personnel concerned.

According to ACT, teachers spend around P1,500 a month for cell-phone load and internet connectivity to communicate with their students in their online classes.

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“Teachers have not felt any concern and compassion because, in the end, they will shoulder expenses for distance learning,” it said.

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TAGS: DepEd, Leonor Briones, public school teachers' allowances
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