Poe files resolution seeking internet allowance for teachers

MANILA, Philippines – Teachers deserve to get an internet allowance to unburden them of the extra expense with the shift to online learning in the coming academic year, Senator Grace Poe said on Thursday, June 25.

Senator Grace Poe
Photo courtesy of Facebook/Grace Poe

Poe filed Senate Resolution No. 456 urging the Executive department to grant such allowance to public elementary and secondary school teachers for the duration of the online classes which will be the new learning mode to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The chairperson of the Senate committee on public services said the government should also "encourage and assist" private schools to provide the same assistance to their teachers.

Poe said the P3,500 one-time cash assistance proposed by the Department of Education (DepEd), converted from the teachers' existing chalk allowance, is not enough to sustain their connectivity needs throughout the period of online classes.

"Kung dati, chalk ang binibili ng ating mga guro, ngayon, load na. 'Di hamak na mas mahal 'yun," Poe said.

Poe also proposed that arrangements be made by DepEd to allow teachers to avail of discounts for their internet load to get them through their obligations for the online education.

"The government should ensure that teachers who are in charge of the noble task of shaping the minds of the next generation are given assistance and support commensurate to their vital role," Poe said.

"It is high time for the government to provide additional allowance to teachers to upgrade their digital access and technological capacity and ensure that they are well-equipped to continually assure quality education to their students in this time of pandemic," Poe underscored.

Citing a proposal from teachers' group that pitched for a P1,500 a month internet allowance, Poe said providing the amount to the 857,000 teachers under DepEd will cost around P1.285 billion per month or P12.855 billion for 10 months.

According to Poe, this is only four percent the total of USD6.4 billion loans incurred by the government to support the COVID-19 response efforts.

Scenes of teachers climbing mountains, crossing rivers or sitting along the highways just to get a signal should not be part of our online education system under the new normal.

"Their dedication and hard work to mold our youth should be matched by crucial infrastructure to make learning effective," Poe said.

The senator said the public services committee is set to conduct a hearing on connectivity to look at enabling poor students across the country foremost to have stable internet access.

"Maraming bata ang pursigidong mag-aral pero walang kakayahan. Hirap na dating bumili ng notebook, paano pa kaya ngayon na laptop o computer ang kailangan?" she said.

Poe then urged the DepEd, private sector and all concerned stakeholders to gather their efforts together to make online education work.

— The Summit Express

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