‘Ano’ng petsa na?’ Teachers lament lack of laptops, data allowances a month before school year ends

Published June 10, 2021, 8:38 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Exactly a month before the current school year officially comes to an end, a group of education workers slammed the government for failing to provide laptops and data allowances for teachers under the “Bayanihan 2.”

Some teachers hold online classes under the distance learning set-up due to COVID-19 pandemic. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines on Thursday, June 10, said that that teachers “have not received” the 68,500 laptops and 100GB data allowance for three months as provided by the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act also known as “Bayanihan 2” which was enacted in December 2020.

Based on the revised school calendar of the Department of Education (DepEd), the last day for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 will be on July 10, 2021.

ACT said that despite the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) announcement in May that it has remitted all the funds from the said measure to their respective agencies, teachers have yet to receive the expected provisions.

“Those provisions were meant to help us better perform our especially challenging duties for the current school year,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio. “Those were part of the state’s mandate to provide the operational needs of distance learning,” he added.

ACT noted that that it also called out the Department of Education (DepEd) its “slow disbursement” of funds after Senator Angara revealed that the agency has only recently obligated 62 percent of the P4 billion provision from Bayanihan 2.

“Ano’ng petsa na? Matatapos na lang ang taon nang hindi man lang napakinabangan ng mga guro at maski ng aming mga estudyante ang kakaunti at huling suporta ng gobyerno sa edukasyon (What date is it? The year will now come to an end and yet teachers and even our students were not able to take advantage of the government’s limited and final support for education,” Basilio said.

Without face-to-face classes, many teachers hold classes online. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Citing reports gathered nationwide, ACT said that “not one region has received the laptops and said data allowance” from the DepEd Central Office.

While some divisions in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bicol Region (Region V), Western Visayas (Region VI), Central Visayas (Region VII), and Davao Region (Region XI) reported the provision of a limited number of laptops, ACT said that these either came from the local government unit (LGU) or from DepEd’s 2020 computerization program.

ACT said that the data allowances availed by some teachers also came from their respective local government units (LGUs).

Given this, ACT lambasted DepEd anew for its “poor” fiscal performance. “DepEd is notorious for its poor fiscal performance, which have long forced teachers to shoulder the costs of education delivery. But this can’t go on. We simply can’t afford it any longer amid the severe crises besetting our country,” Basilio said.

ACT also urged DepEd to give a definitive answer “when will these provisions be enjoyed by teachers and students?”

With some homes not conducive to learning, a student attends an online classes inside a jeepney. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

Moreover, Basilio noted that DepEd must also be held to “account for failing to provide” the said support as quickly as possible – which, he argued – goes against the objective of the “Bayanihan” measure which was to immediately respond to the needs of the country amid the health and economic crises.

He also called on concerned government bodies to look into DepEd’s neglect of its duty that resulted in the “grave injustice” that education stakeholders continue to suffer.

 
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