De Lima, Gatchalian, Pangilinan call for more benefits for public school teachers
MANILA, Philippines — Three senators on Sunday echoed the appeal of teachers’ groups for the government to provide more benefits for them as they face new challenges with the opening of classes in public elementary and secondary schools across the country on Monday.
More than 24 million students were expected to take part in the distance and blended learning systems that the Department of Education (DepEd) adopted to ensure the safety of students amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“As our teachers brave the pandemic to continue providing education to our children, let us show our appreciation for their service by ensuring they get the compensation they deserve,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
“We must ensure that teachers have the full support of the government in transitioning to this new normal in our education system,” he said, noting that the opening of classes also coincided with the celebration of World Teachers’ Day.
For one, Pangilinan said DepEd should increase the P3,500 yearly chalk allowance of public school teachers, which they may now use for internet services.
He said the government should also add at least P40 billion to DepEd’s budget request of P67 billion for the printing of learning modules for 2021.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate basic education committee, said education officials should use the P4-billion allocation for DepEd under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act to purchase laptops and other gadgets for public school teachers.
“Many of them don’t have gadgets and equipment for the opening of classes. They still have to produce and print modules and assessment reports,” Gatchalian said in a radio interview.
“This first step is geared toward providing our teachers with enough support and equipment for their teaching (activities),” he said.
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima said providing additional incentives to teachers would be the best way to honor their sacrifices.
“We can never thank you enough. This is why I reiterate my support in urging DepEd to fill its vacancies in teaching positions to fully implement the blended learning modality this school year,” De Lima said in a handwritten statement.
“I likewise support DepEd’s plan of hiring para-teachers to assist our teachers and the distance learners with their lessons,” she said.
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