“Napakabigat ng responsibilidad ng mga public school teachers sa new modes of learning. Dapat may nakalaang budget ang gobyerno para mapagaan ito.”
This was the remark of Senator Risa Hontiveros as she urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to allocate more funding in the 2021 national budget to cover health benefits and equipment required of public school teachers in the new modes of learning.
The senator also underscored the necessity of institutionalizing the implementation of RA 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers as a response to the unequal government support provided to teachers.
“Dapat siguraduhin nating naaalagaan ang mga guro natin. Mahaba pa ang laban natin sa COVID-19, kaya dapat may sapat na pondo para tuloy-tuloy ang edukasyon ng mga bata,” she said. “The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers is meant to give our teachers protection gaya ng medical benefits and hazard pay.”
Many teachers, according to Hontiveros, have expressed concerns over the inequitable response of the government to their needs. “Umaaray ang ating mga guro. Kulang na kulang ang suporta lalo na yung mga nakaassign sa mga pinakamahihirap na munisipyo na walang kakayahan ang LGU at mga pribadong indibwal na sagutin ang kanilang pangangailangan.”
“We need a more institutional approach para tugunan ito and to ensure that there is funding earmarked for the implementation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers,” she said.
Citing DepEd’s data, Hontiveros said that more than half of the basic education students or at least 13 million students preferred the modular learning modality. This, according to the senator, means public school teachers are facing an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 since they are required to distribute and retrieve self learning modules (SLMs) from the communities themselves.
“Teachers are frontliners as well. Sino ang sasagot kapag nagkasakit sila habang nasa field, while distributing or retrieving modules? Kailangan nila ng proteksyon. Dapat siguraduhin nating may sapat na budget para sa medical treatment at pagpapaospital sakaling magkasakit sila in the line of duty,” she said.
Hontiveros also called for budget allocation to provide teachers with necessary equipment and materials needed for distance teaching and learning such as internet allowance which she says, ‘is one of the most crucial ingredients in a successful education in the new normal.”
“For our teachers to properly adapt, they would need proper access to all necessary technology,” she said. “Sa ngayon, kargo lahat ng guro mula sa sariling laptop hanggang sa pagpapakabit ng internet at pagpapaprint ng modules. Dapat gobyerno ang sumasagot nito at hindi teachers pa ang abonado.”
“Ibigay natin sa mga guro ang suportang kailangan nila lalo’t itinataya nila ang buhay para siguraduhing may maayos na edukasyon ang mga anak natin. Huwag natin silang tipirin dahil labis-labis ang kontribusyon nila sa pagpapanday ng kinabukasan ng ating bansa,” she concluded.