A member of the House of Representatives on Thursday said he would rather have the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) use its remaining P10 billion Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds to help the private school employees who have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"DSWD can give the P10 billion to the private school teachers and non-teaching staff who lost their jobs because the schools they worked for had to shut down operations," said Iligan City lone district Rep. Frederick Siao.
"Those workers are now jobless indigents, so it is now up to DSWD to help them," reckoned Siao, chairman of the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation.
The Mindanaoan said the DSWD can enter into an agreement with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Labor and Employment, Social Security System, and with the Private Education Assistance Committee for the purpose of helping laid off private school personnel.
"These agencies and institutions can all share with DSWD their database on the private schools' employees and casual workers. This way the beneficiaries will be precisely identified and the funds not wasted," said Siao, who is also a member of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education.
Enrolment in private schools have plummeted for school year 2021-2022, with thousands of parents opting to enroll their children in public schools instead. Public schools, unlike private schools, entail no tuition.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the government to impose a long lockdown in an attempt to limit the people's movement. However, the economic impact of the lockdown forced many establishments to close down.
Private schools, which use students' tuition to pay for the salaries of its workers, weren't spared from this.
The SAP was the government's emergency cash dole out program during the initial lockdown months. Last week, the DSWD bared that they had P10 billion in leftover SAP money.