MANILA — As colleges and universities are scheduled to begin classes in the next few weeks, several students have turned to social media to ask for money so they could buy laptops and other gadgets needed for online learning.
On Twitter, students sought help from netizens under the hashtag #PisoParaSaLaptop. Donations were mostly coursed through digital wallet GCash.
Jasher Batis, an incoming sophomore at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila, said he joined the campaign to attend virtual classes, which was more effective than learning solely through modules.
"I am not aiming for a new laptop. A secondhand one would be enough as long as [it's still] working," he said in an interview.
Batis said his family lost their source of income after his breadwinner mother was let go from work at the start of the pandemic. His father, meanwhile, is unable to work because of his health.
Raven Kassandra Mateo, an incoming college sophomore, lamented how not everyone was privileged to attend online classes.
"Nakita ko po 'yong #PisoParaSaLaptop campaign sa mga kaibigan ko kaya naisip ko, as long as wala ka namang tinatapakan na ibang tao, wala namang masama na humingi ng tulong," said Mateo.
(I saw the #PisoParaSaLaptop campaign through my friends and I thought, as long as I'm not harming other people, there's nothing wrong with asking for help.)
Mateo's father lost his job as a bus driver during the pandemic, which prompted a halt on public transportation in its early months. He now works as a fish vendor to support the family.
Aside from #PisoParaSaLaptop, accountancy student Via Dizon has started offering to write academic essays for other students to raise money.
"Plano ko po [bumili ng] secondhand laptop na kaya 'yong accounting software na kailangan this coming [semester]," she said.
(I plan to buy a secondhand laptop that can operate the accounting software we need for this coming semester.)
Those asking for donations through the online campaign said they were willing to show their school IDs and grades as proof of their identities.
ISKOLARS NEED HELP
The University of the Philippines (UP) has also started a donation drive for its students struggling with distance learning.
UP said donations through the "UP Kaagapay sa Pag-aaral ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan" campaign would be used to buy desktop computers or laptops and internet connectivity for 5,600 students.
Most higher education institutions are set to implement flexible learning in the coming academic year as in-person classes remain prohibited due to the continuing threat of COVID-19.