A teachers’ group on Monday once again urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure that adequate support and assistance are given to its teaching and non-teaching personnel who have contracted COVID-19.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, underscored the need for clearer support mechanisms from the DepEd as the number of teachers and personnel with COVID-19 continues to increase.
Citing data from DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, TDC noted that so far, the agency has “recorded 669 cases of COVID-19” and out of this number, “360 have recovered and 21 have died.”
“We would like to know where these cases are usually attributed and what would be the available assistance from the DepEd, particularly in treatment and recovery,” TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said. “We once again appeal to the DepEd top management for dialogue on policies while pursuing local meetings with field officials to discuss matters of operations,” he added.
Support, assistance in place
Meanwhile, DepEd assured that it continues to prioritize the welfare and safety of its employees amid the COVID-19 situation in the country.
During the “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” virtual press briefing, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla noted that the DepEd -- under its Required Health Standards-- provides the some measures for COVID-19 mitigation in schools and offices as cited in DO 14, s. 2020 or the Guidelines on the Required Health Standards in Basic Education Offices and Schools.
Aside from support mechanisms for the DepEd Required Health Standards, Sevilla said that DepEd continues to implement general health and safety protocols to increase physical and mental resilience, reduce transmission, reduce contact, and reduce duration of infection.
“There are testing protocols including early detection, referral process, testing and quarantine, contact tracing, and support protocols for COVID-19 positive learners, teachers, and personnel,” she added.
Meanwhile, Sevilla announced that funding requirements for teachers’ welfare are also in place. In particular, a budget of P400 million is available wherein P500 per teacher is targeted to be released in September.
Sevilla also noted that a Hazard Pay of P500 per day per person will be granted to employees and workers who physically report for work during the implementation of an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in their respective work stations.
Under the employees’ compensation program, Sevilla said that COVID-19 benefits such as sickness, medical, death and funeral benefits as well as cash assistance are provided.
Sevilla also noted the DepEd partnership with PhilHealth is also providing assistance to its personnel through the Community Isolation Package, COVID-19 testing package and Inpatient Care Package.