Duterte asks for patience as gov’t scrambles to buy distance learning gadgets
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte asked Filipinos on Monday to give him until the end of the week to find funds for the purchase of distance learning gadgets, like radios, with the government running out of money again.
Duterte explained in his briefing on Monday night that among the items being considered were radios priced at P300 each to service far-flung areas without access to television sets, cellphones, and even internet connectivity.
The problem, however, is that he has to find the money for it.
“We will try to come up with something in the next few days. Maybe before the end of the week, I would be able to look for the money. Wala na tayong pera ngayon [we do not have any money now]. I’d look for the money to buy transistor radios to be distributed all throughout the country,” the President said.
“We will try to do it, we might not be able to succeed to bring all of it to the barangay level, but we will try. I said, just give me until the end of the week,” he added.
According to Duterte, it would be a waste of time if students do not get to learn while a stay-at-home policy due to COVID-19 is adopted — especially since there is a possibility that the distance learning may be adopted for a long time.
Duterte has remained firm in not allowing face-to-face classes until a COVID-19 vaccine could be discovered.
“If this would take longer, time may be wasted, ” he said in Filipino. “We might buy the radio at P300 each so that far barangays may be reached through radio. So that the poor will have a way to communicate with their teachers, even without face-to-face learning. hey can manage as long as they are interested.”
The chief executive’s remarks — that the country is running out of funds — came a few days after the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the Philippines had received P6.5 billion worth of donations from the private sector.
This is aside from the $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion loans secured from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, respectively.
Then just recently, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that the country already had $6.508 billion — over P325 billion — worth of funds in its COVID-19 war chest.
As of now, the Philippines has one of the highest COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian region, with 26,420 confirmed patients, 1,098 of whom have died while 6,252 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 7.9 million patients have been infected, while 433,066 have died and 3.769 million have recovered.
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