Internet allowance for public school teachers proposed

Published June 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro is proposing that all public school teachers be granted monthly P1,500 Internet allowance to capacitate them and “help them cope” with the requirements of the Blended Learning Program of the Department of Education (DepEd).

ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro

She led the filing of House Bill No. 7034 or the proposed “Internet Allowance for Public School Teachers Act of 2020”, calling on the State to provide every public school teacher an Internet allowance to fulfill the objectives of the DepEd’s program.

“A reliable internet connection is a vital component for DepEd’s alternative work schemes such as work-from-home arrangements and distance learning,” Castro said in her bill’s explanatory note.

“Government must not leave public school teachers to their own devices, especially considering that this need for stable Internet access is for their official duties as teachers, and for them to fulfill a core function of government—the delivery of public education,” she stressed.

Bayan Muna partylist Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; Gabriela Women’s partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago joined Castro in filing HB 7034.

Castro said HB 7034 will help the public school teachers “deliver the outputs of distance education which are expected of them, and adjust to the demands in education brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Covered by the bill are all public school teachers who are engaged in the Blended Learning Program both in elementary and secondary public schools.

“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,” Castro said in a statement.

“We urge the House leadership to swiftly enact this measure into law as the target date of the Department of Education nears and no teacher or student shall be burdened by education just because they do not have a stable internet connection,” she said.

HB 7034 tasks the DepEd and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the “faithful and effective” implementation of the proposed Act within 30 days from the date of its effectivity.

Failure of the DBM and DepEd to comply with the provision of the proposed Act will render their responsible officials liable under the relevant administrative and criminal laws, the measure provides.

Under the bill, the amount necessary for its implementation shall be charged against the current appropriations of the DepEd and thereafter, the funds shall be provided in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

HB 7034 mandates the Secretary of Education “to conduct a periodic review of the Internet Allowance, taking into account the current rates of Internet service subscription plans, and if warranted, recommend the necessary increase in the amount of the allowance.”