Private schools appeal to gov’t: We need DOLE ‘ayuda’ now

An association appealed to the government to allow private schools to benefit from “ayuda” offered by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

(Photo from Unsplash)

Federation of Associations of Private Schools & Administrators (FAPSA) President Eleazardo S. Kasilag on Saturday, Jan. 22, said that while the group lauds the P1-billion COVID Adjustment Measure Program (CAMP) of DOLE, more consideration should be given to private schools that continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under Department Order No. 232, CAMP is considered as a “safety net program that provides a one-time financial assistance to affected workers in the formal sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and declaration of Alert Level 3 or higher in various areas in the country.”

Citing DOLE Assistant Secretary for the Employment and General Administration Cluster Dominique Tutay, Kasilag noted that those who already benefited from the CAMP during the implementation of Bayanihan 1 and 2 are “excluded” from the CAMP 2022.

DOLE, however, is open to “evaluating” if a worker who previously received a one-time P5, 000 cash can still avail of the latest cash assistance.

Kasilag said that FAPSA is aware that DOLE exempts private schools from being recipients in November 2022. “But it has to be understood that small private schools are in the worst situation now,” he explained.

“The school owners had been operating in a bankrupt position but had to hang on to dear life to save teachers, who also have nothing to cling to,” Kasilag said. “We need this DOLE ‘ayuda’ now,” he added.

However, Kasilag pointed out that big schools under FAPSA are “not included” in this appeal.

“FAPSA schools are the small and medium-sized schools and do not charge high fees,” Kasilag said.

He noted that big schools, even at this time, are still able to make both ends meet. However, Kasilag added that “small schools live on fees and there are only around 2,000 of us in the NCR but as many as 6,000 in the country.”

Kasilag said that “so many schools now implement a no work, no pay policy as a last-ditch effort because of an already retrenched working arrangement to avoid school permanent closure.”

He added that parents from small schools have “stopped paying” because they have been laid off while teachers slashed pay is also at its “worst.”

Kasilag lamented that schools in the NCR have suspended operations temporarily for weeks this January as a health break because teachers and students have been sick.

“Our teachers are aware that this is a ‘no-work, no-pay’ scenario,” he said.

Despite this, Kasilag said that some local government units (LGUs) also declared suspension for additional weeks.

“Public school teachers are luckier because the government continues to pay them,” Kasilag said. “But our teachers in the private schools are no longer eating,” he added.

Meanwhile, FAPSA appealed to Senator Win Gatchalian, chair of the Education Committee in the Senate, to intercede on behalf of the private schools. “We need this little financial assistance from DOLE,” Kasilag said.