Lawmakers heaved a sigh of relief over the decision of government to postpone the resumption of classes from August 24 to October 5, saying that this exposed the Department of Education’s unpreparedness in pushing for the original schedule for opening schools.
This developed as Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo called on government to remove taxes imposed on computers, mobile phones and other gadgets that would be used by students and teachers in virtual and blended learning.
“Removing taxes will considerably reduce the cost of these devices and gadgets, and make them affordable to poor learners and teachers,” she said.
ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro said as a result of the postponement, the DepEd must now take advantage of the additional time to implement health and safety guidelines for teachers, non-teaching personnel, students and their families.
On the other hand, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago chided DepEd for refusing to accept suggestions about its original plan for class resumption, saying that the decision to move it to October 5 indicated an admission on the part of the department that it was not prepared to open on August 24.
“Maaga pa lang dapat ay naging bukas na ang DepEd sa rekomendasyon nito keysa itinanggi pa ang mga hinaharap na suliranin ng mga guro at kawani sa paghahanda para sa blended distance learning (DepEd should have been open to suggestions early instead of refusing to admit the problems facing teachers and staff in preparing for blended distance learning),” said Elago.
Castro urged DepEd to provide adequate funds for the procurement of personal protective equipment and finance the transportation expenses of teachers and non-teaching personnel as part of the preparations for the October 5 opening.
“The Department of Education must use this time to comprehensively study and implement concrete plans for the safe and quality reopening of schools that will be accessible to every child,” said the teachers representative.
Meanwhile, Castelo said the problem in virtual learning that is facing teachers and students may be addressed if government steps in to reduce the cost of much-needed computer and communications gadget.
Earlier, Cavite Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino urged the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Information and Communications Technology to take action against the overpricing of gadgets.
Tolentino, chairman of the House Committee on Accounts, noted that as a result of the high demand for computers and communications gadgets, unscrupulous traders have made the prices of units for sale very restrictive to ordinary students and parents.