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House bill seeks monthly P1,500 internet allowance for public school teachers

A measure has been filed at the House of Representatives seeking to grant public school teachers an amount of P1,500 monthly as Internet allowance to help them meet the requirements of the blended mode of learning proposed by the Department of Education (DepEd) for the upcoming school year.

In filing House Bill 7034, ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro pointed out that with the measly salary of public school teachers, it is the government that should provide them the necessary tools and gadgets to perform their duties under the proposed new mode of teaching.

"The annual chalk allowance for teachers will not be sufficient to provide a stable connection that will last a whole school year. Teachers are also forced to find ways to make sure that they have necessary gadgets to be able to comply with what is being asked from them," she said.

"Providing public school teachers a monthly P1,500 for internet connection would greatly help them cope with the demands of the 'new normal' imposed by the Department of Education and not worry about out of pocket expenses," she added.

Due to the threat of COVID-19, the DepEd decided to resume classes through distance learning, where students do not have to go to school to participate in classes to avoid possible transmission of the virus.

It also removed around 60% of the curriculum to adjust for the remote learning approach this coming school year, which was scheduled to start on August 24.

The department has been preparing for ways to deliver education to students through self-learning modules, broadcast media, and the Internet.

Apart from a monthly Internet allowance, the DepEd must also ensure sufficient funding for materials, tools, and gadgets be given to teachers before imposing policies and guidelines as they push for the resumption of classes despite the COVID-19 crisis, Castro said.

"Hindi dapat kakalimutan ng kagawaran ng edukasyon na mayroon pa ring pandemiya na nagaganap kaya naman ang mga polisiya na ginagawa at iniimplementa niya ay dapat ring nakaayon sa sitwasyon ng ating bansa," she said.

"Hindi maaaring pipilitin nitong magsimula ang bagong taon sa paaralan na pababayaan na lamang ang mga guro na maghanap ng paraan para maitawid ang mga pilit na pinapagawa ng ahensya sa kanila," she added.

Castro urged her colleagues at the House of Representative to immediately approve the measure so that "no teacher or student shall be burdened by education just because they do not have a stable internet connection."

Apart from Castro, other authors of House 7034 are Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago. — BM, GMA News