Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said public elementary and secondary school teachers should receive an allowance to pay for internet connection for the entire period that virtual classes will be held.
Filipino teachers should receive internet allowance and laptops from the Department of Education (DepEd) if blended forms of learning would push through while the country deals with the COVID-10 pandemic, according to two senators on Thursday.
Poe said that a P1,500 monthly allowance to 857,000 teachers under the DepEd would cost P12.85 billion for 10 months, citing an estimate from a teachers’ group.
She said this is equivalent to only 4% of the $6.4 billion loaned by the government for COVID-19 response.
Sen. Grace Poe also stressed that the P3,500 one-time cash allowance—previously called the chalk allowance—would not be enough for the connectivity needs of teachers under the new normal.
“Kung dati, chalk ang binibili ng ating mga guro, ngayon, load na. ‘Di hamak na mas mahal ‘yun,” she said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, in a separate statement, thumbed down the offer for teachers to avail of loans from the Government Insurance Service System to help them procure laptops.
“Huwag nating piliting gumastos ang mga guro para makapagturo. Responsibilidad at gastos dapat ng DepEd ang mga ito,” she added.
“This is a non-solution that is grossly unfair and impractical. DepEd should find ways to provide for these laptops and allowance for free. Imbes na pautang, dapat libreng suporta. ‘Yung mga sundalo ba natin, pinagbabayad ba natin sila para sa baril nila?” she said.
Hontiveros said the DepEd could explore tapping the local government units’ Special Education Fund to provide WiFi allowances and lend laptops to teachers.