Solon seeks increase in teachers' Bayanihan 2 assistance from P300 M to P5 billion

Deputy Speaker and 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero on Monday batted for a P5 billion financial assistance to the country’s teachers to ease the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on them.

1PACMAN partylist Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero
(Mikee Romero blogspot / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Romero aired the appeal to the bicameral conference committee tasked to consolidate the Senate and House versions of the Bayanihan to  Recover as One Bill or Bayanihan 2 .

“P300 million will not go a long way in easing the suffering of at least 1.2 million teaching and non-teaching staff of private and public schools that we want to help,” Romero, an economics expert, said.

Romero, president of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc., said aside from the 700,000 public school teachers needing immediate financial assistance, there are about 500,000 teachers and administrative employees from private schools who are also suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The administration lawmaker stressed that private sector teachers “have been without jobs and income since March, when lockdown measures were imposed.”

“If we distribute P300 million equally among 1.2 million teachers and non-teachers, each will receive a measly P250 in aid. If the money is shared by the affected 500,000 personnel in private schools, each of them will get P600. Clearly, we have to allocate a much bigger amount for the intended beneficiaries,” Romero explained.

The Bayanihan 2 provision for “subsidies and allowances’ for teaching and non-teaching personnel in both public and private schools, covers only P300 million.

The proposed amount is intended for personnel in public and private elementary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions, including part-time faculty.

According to party-list group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), more than 400,000 private school teachers have not been receiving their salaries since March under the “no-work, no-pay” scheme because of the lockdown.

The group said 94 percent of these teachers did not qualify for the P5,000-P8,000 financial assistance to low-income households under Bayanihan 1.

ACT called for a P10,000 monthly wage subsidy from the government for private school teachers. In the case of public school teachers, they continued to receive pay during the lockdown because they are government employees.