Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday urged the Senate to act on proposals to provide tax exemptions on gadgets, mobile devices, and other communication devices which are now essential educational materials to further students’ education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Lima said plans to exempt educational apps, e-books, computers, tablets, and other communication devices to be purchased by students and teachers from Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a good place to start and deserves consideration in the Senate if the national government is serious about its proclamation that no student should be left behind.
If the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) insists that classes should proceed without further delays, De Lima said the needs of the poor and most vulnerable should be addressed first and foremost.
“Teachers and students alike should not have to rely solely on personal initiatives and the goodwill of other individuals to keep up with the demands of e-learning. Systemic problems require systemic solutions,” De Lima said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to education systems around the world, the senator said it is imperative that the government is prepared to assist teachers and students in acquiring gadgets and other digital educational tools to further their education.
She noted that education has changed dramatically with the distinctive rise of e-learning, the use of gadgets, and the maximization of a wide array of digital platforms in instruction.
“Technology, has thus, become one of the most critical tools to support and aid our teachers and students in light of the need to remain outside of classrooms and the government’s pronouncement of continuing education in the midst of this pandemic,” she said.
“Pakiusap lang, huwag na nating dagdagan ang hirap at gastusin ng ating mga estudyante at guro (My appeal is to help our students and teachers overcome their hardship and financial problems),” she added.