Amid mass layoffs, education sector still awaiting Bayanihan 2 aid from DOLE – Gatchalian

Published February 23, 2021, 11:27 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to accelerate the distribution of financial aid to displaced teachers and non-teaching personnel that are provided for under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, noted that these teachers and non-teaching staff who were displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic have waited long enough to receive their aid.

The senator said the education sector should have been prioritized because it is one of the most battered by the pandemic.

“Bakit inabot ng ganitong katagal ang ayuda para sa mga guro? (Why did the financial aid for teachers take this long?)” Gatchalian asked.

“Ngayong tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang tanggalan sa maraming upisina at mayroon nang bagong variant ang COVID-19, marapat lamang na maipaabot na sa kanila ang ayudang matagal nang ipinangakong magpapaluwag sa kanilang mga pasanin (Up to now, many offices are still laying off workers plus we’re battling a new COVID-19 variant, that’s why it’s only fitting for the government to fulfill its promise to ease their burdens),” he stressed.

Under Bayanihan 2,  P300 million has been allotted for the provision of a one-time cash assistance to displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary education institutions.

Part-time faculty members in state universities and colleges (SUCs) who have lost their jobs or who have not received their wages are also entitled to receive these subsidies.

In the basic sector education alone, Gatchalian noted 4,488 teachers were affected by the suspension of operations in 865 private schools, citing Department of Education (DepEd) report last September 2020.

He also said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also reported that last May, some 50,000 part-time lecturers of private colleges and universities working on a “no work, no pay basis” need financial aid. While the funds are not enough to ease their burden, the lawmaker said DOLE should iron out the final guidelines with CHED and DepEd to ensure the smooth distribution of the cash aid to teachers and non-teaching personnel and avoid the bottlenecks experienced during the distribution of the SAP.