/ 11 December 2020

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro welcomed the reinstatement of the allocation for teachers in the 2021 budget but lamented that it falls short of the teachers’ demands.

Castro said that the inclusion of teachers’ allowance in the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act can be considered a victory for teachers.

“We welcome the reinstatement of the P1,000 World Teachers’ Day incentive in the approved bicameral committee report of the 2021 General Appropriations Act, an incentive for teachers that was removed in the initial proposed National Expenditures Program proposed by President Duterte,” Castro said.

“We also note that the cash allowance for teachers was also increased from P3,500 to P5,000 for FY 2021, though it lumped expenses for internet, other communications and medical expenses of teachers. P5,000 for all those expenses for the whole year is a far cry from our proposal of P5,000 teaching supplies allowance, P10,000 internet allowance for the whole school year and P500 medical check up for every teacher,” she added.

Castro lamented that the slashed budget items for the Special Education Program was unfunded in the approved bicameral conference committee report for the 2021 national budget.

The lawmaker said that the government needs to invest more on education so that the Filipino youth will not lag behind in international assessment tests like the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2019 where Filipino learners scored lowest in Math and Science.

“How can we expect our youth to lead in these assessment tests if our government gives little to no priority in the essential budgetary items to provide quality education especially amid the pandemic? Allocating adequate funds for learning materials under blended learning, investing in the needs of our teachers and making sure that they will not have out-of-pocket expenses will help the youth score better in assessment tests,” Castro said.