A group of education workers has described as “shameful” and “tackless” the Duterte government’s lack of interest in the proposed P401-billion Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or Bayanihan 3, which was passed by the House of Representatives on third and final reading on June 1.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) scoffed at Malacañang’s pronouncement that Bayanihan 3 is not urgent as Bayanihan 2 funds are still available.
“It is deplorable how President Duterte hinders the provision of a new round of financial aid to the people who have been suffering under the grave health and economic crisis. Teachers are incensed that after turning a blind eye to the needs of education, the President further obstructs the progress of Bayanihan 3 which could provide, however little, additional budget to education,” ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.
As the House of Representatives already did its part in passing Bayanihan 3, the ACT then urged the Senate to pass measures that would ensure education continuity and provide aid to the people amid the continued threat of coronavirus disease (COVID).
On Wednesday, June 2, ACT handed over to the Senate, through Senate Committee on Finance Sonny Angara the signatures of 18,773 teachers petitioning for the grant of P1,500 monthly internet allowance.
Basilio voiced out the demand of educator sector for substantial budget augmentation, lamenting the educators are “bone-weary of carrying the burdens of distance learning due to government neglect.”
“While we support the passing of Bayanihan 3 as it ultimately provides for aid, the slashes in the provision for education from P30 billion, to P5.6 billion, and finally to P4 billion is really saddening, and enraging in fact if compared to the allocated P54 billion for the pension of uniformed personnel,” he said.
ACT submitted to the House of Representatives the teachers’ petition for P1,500 monthly internet allowance last month.
Basilio noted that 66 percent of teachers shell out P1,500 and above monthly, while 16 percent spend more than P3,000 monthly for internet connection, cellphone load, increased electricity bills, module supplies, and other distance learning needs.
“Our teachers have not received any substantial help from the government since the start of the pandemic. They have suffered the brunt of the failed distance learning program, as well as the effects of the economic and health crisis in the country. If the Duterte administration doesn’t act soon and heed the woes of our education workers, the state of the education in the country will only worsen,” he said.