MANILA — The Department of Education said Thursday it was procuring laptops for around 68,500 personnel as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt traditional schooling and work arrangements.
At the Laging Handa public briefing, Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the agency allotted P2.4 billion for the laptops, which are being procured by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The amount is part of the P4.3 billion financial assistance given to the DepEd through the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), the government's second stimulus package to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The available budget given under [the Bayanihan 2] can accommodate [the] purchase of 68,500 laptops and we will prioritize those who have not received yet DepEd computer packages," Sevilla said in a separate message to ABS-CBN News.
Video courtesy of PTV
According to her, the department, which has 989,971 employees, would start distributing the laptops after the DBM procurement "by July this year onwards."
Of the financial assistance it received under Bayanihan 2, the DepEd also allotted P1.2 billion for the procurement of internet load for teachers, P300 million for students' subsidies and allowances, P200 million for DepEd TV, P150 million for self-learning modules, and P50 million for DepEd Radio, Sevilla said.
"Lahat po ito ay ongoing. At tayo rin po ay naghihintay ng susunod pa sa Bayanihan Law 3 ng mga iba pang financial assistance," she said, referring to the proposed third stimulus package.
(All of these are ongoing. And we're also waiting for the next financial assistance under the Bayanihan Law 3.)
Sevilla enumerated the items in response to complaints that the DepEd was not giving sufficient assistance to its employees.
On Wednesday, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) sent a petition letter to lawmakers in the House of Representatives, asking them to include a P1,500 per month internet allowance for public school teachers in the proposed Bayanihan 3 bill.
"Current government efforts to ease teachers of these financial burdens are evidently insufficient," ACT said in its petition, signed by over 17,300 teachers.
Classes in Philippine public schools started last October 2020, implementing distance learning, where students studied from their homes via printed and digital modules, online classes, television, and radio.
Since then, many teachers have complained about shouldering costs related to distance learning, such as the printing of modules and purchase of internet load.