EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones on Thursday said her agency is not against the grant of additional allowances to public school teachers by local government units as long as the source of the funds is legitimate.
“Again, we [at the Department of Education]repeat our position, this is the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) initiative, and as the DBM repeatedly said it’s alright as long as the source is legitimate,” Briones said in a news briefing.
“Again, we explain that the special education fund (SEF) is part of the real property tax which goes to the local government, and part of that goes to the special education fund. It does not include allowances for nationally employed teachers,” she explained.
Briones noted that some teachers, particularly from Metro Manila, receive their allowances from the local government from the general fund and special education fund.
“We have had instances where teachers get allowances from the general fund from a particular local government and at the same time receive also allowances from the special education fund, so it’s double,” she said.
“But there are also places where teachers do not receive any at all because the local government cannot afford to spend for additional allowances for teachers, so it results in evenness and it’s more common in urban areas or in cities,” the DepEd chief added.
Briones said the Budget department wanted to correct this.
Last month, a group of public school teachers from Metro Manila stormed the central office of the Education department in Pasig City to denounce the agency for scrapping their local allowances.
The teachers demanded the resignation of Briones for signing the Joint Circular 1, Series of 2017 issued by the Education department, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management removing the allowances given by local government units to DepEd-hired teachers as expenses chargeable to the special education fund, effectively prohibiting these allowances.
Briones belied the claim of some teachers that the allowances they receive from the local government are being used for class-related expenses.
“It’s not completely true because we have what we call school maintenance and other operating expenses or MOOE which is the budget for maintaining the school. It can range from P2 million to P7 million per school,” she said.
“So, the school-related expenses are already covered by our budget, and so this allowance really goes to the personal account of the teachers themselves,” the DepEd chief added.