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Poe files resolution seeking internet allowance for teachers

A member of labor group Alliance of Concerned Teachers participating in a protest outside the Department of Education central office in Pasig City on June, 9, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday filed a resolution urging the Department of Education to grant internet allowance to public elementary and secondary school teachers for online classes.

"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 [novel coronavirus] pandemic," she said.

A resolution, even if adopted by the Senate, is only an expression of the chamber's position on an issue and is not binding on the executive branch.

The shift to online classes is part of the blended learning scheme which DepEd will be implementing this coming school year to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Other alternatives proposed to face-to-face classes include printed modules and instruction delivered through television and radio.

The education department has so far floated a one-time cash assistance of P3,500— the same amount usually budgeted for chalk allowance.

Poe in a statement said this was not nearly enough.

She cited a proposal from labor group Alliance of Concerned Teachers that pitched an allowance of P1,500 per month. If given to the 857,000 teachers under DepEd, the senator said it would cost around P1.285 billion per month or P12.855 billion for 10 months.

Poe emphasized "this amount is only 4% the total of $6.4 billion loans incurred by the government to support the COVID-19 response efforts."

The senator also proposed that DepEd make arrangements for teachers to get discounts for mobile data load.

She highlighted that several teachers have been documented "climbing mountains, crossing rivers or sitting along the highways just to [get] signal," and said that this would be an unacceptable new normal.

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

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