'Internet load, not chalk': Poe says P3,500 allowance for teachers 'not enough' for new normal

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2020 06:09 PM

A Filipino online tutor wears a wig as he talks to students from a computer in the head office of 51Talk, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Pasig City, March 23, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters/File Photo

MANILA - The Department of Education's (DepEd) one-time P3,500 allowance for teachers is "not enough" to help them purchase materials needed for the distance-learning program, Sen. Grace Poe said Thursday.

"The proposed allowance might not be enough because kung dati chalk lang ang binibili, ngayon, load na. Mas mahal 'di hamak siguro 'yun," Poe told DepEd officials during the Senate Committee on Basic Education's hybrid hearing.

(The proposed allowance may not be enough because if they were buying chalk before, now they need load for the internet. And that's more expensive.)

"Hindi naman natin pwedeng i-ask na lahat ng mga teachers ay may sapat na pera para magkaroon ng internet connection ng ganung klase para maabot nila ang kanilang mga estudyante," she said.

(We cannot ask our teachers to have enough money to have quality internet connection needed to reach their students.)

The DepEd earlier said that it is reviewing its budget after several teachers clamored for an internet access allowance before the opening of classes in August.

"Hopefully, this will be increased in the next calendar year's budget for the DepEd," Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said.

Poe said her Senate Committee on Public Services will convene a hearing next week to ask internet providers if they could have a discount "program specifically for educators."

"So that they (teachers) may avail of certain discounts when they have to buy load or anything that will get them through their obligations for their online education program," the senator said.

Philippine schools have been preparing to shift to online classes and distance-learning schemes after President Rodrigo Duterte prohibited students from physically going to school while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be discovered.