To help educators cover expenses for the entire school year, teachers will be receiving a one-time cash allowance of P3,500 this month, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on June 1.
"This is an additional benefit. It's budgeted. It is ready for release. We are just waiting for the guidelines on the use of the cash allowance kasi may idadagdag lang po kami na provision," DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said in a virtual press briefing.
The P3,500 will be used to buy teaching materials for School Year 2020-2021. This cash allowance was previously called the "chalk allowance" but the fund eventually started to cover other teaching expenses.
"We are transitioning to the learning continuity plan. Instead po kasi dati ang tawag dito 'chalk allowance,' pambili ito ng chalk ng mga teachers na nag-start ng P500 then, later on, every year, nadadagdagan 'to, including all other materials and needs of the teachers," Sevilla said.
Teachers are set to receive the allowance alongside their salary for the month of June. How teachers spend this fund does not need to be reported.
As learning goes online and lessons become virtual in the time of COVID-19, teachers will also have to adjust and teach in new ways. According to Sevilla, DepEd is discussing the teachers’ communication allowance with the Department of Budget and Management.
"Nagpapaalam po tayo dahil may bagong paraan ng training dahil 'di na nagbiya-biyahe ang mga guro, madalas na ginagamit ay internet or WiFi connection," Sevilla said.
DepEd is also in talks with Department of Information and Communications Technology and several telecommunication companies to see how internet subscriptions can be provided to teachers.
"In the long term, hintayin po natin 'yon baka kasi 'di na rin kailanganin ng gastusin dahil baka mayroon ng exclusive provider for education package ng mga online needs natin," Sevilla said.
Schools are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. DepEd developed learning continuity plan to ensure that learners’ needs are met even during quarantine. At this time, the department encouraged parents to aid their children in studying and learning as teachers cannot be with them physically to facilitate lessons.