Lapid wants nationwide gadget donation drive to help poor students cope with online classes

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2020 04:42 PM

A mother helps her daughter learn how to attend virtual classes in the Valenzuela Live Online Streaming School on July 9, 2020. Photo from the Valenzuela City Public Information Office

MANILA - Sen. Lito Lapid has filed a bill that would create an "electronics donation and recycling program" to ensure that students from poor families would have tablets and mobile phones needed for distance learning education as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers.

Under Senate Bill No. 1846, "all manufacturers and retailers of electronic gadgets shall be required to establish and set up donation and recycling booths" outside their respective shops so that Filipinos can leave their old phones and computers.

"Maraming mga estudyante at guro ang walang magamit na cellphone o computer habang nasa online classes tayo dahil sa pandemya," Lapid said in a statement.

(There are a lot of students and teachers who do not have their own cellphones or computers that they can use in online classes brought by the pandemic.)

"Nag-aalala tayo na ang kawalan ng gadget kasama na ang problema sa internet sa bansa ay maaring maging dahilan para di na lamang tumuloy sa pag-aaral ang ating mga kabataan sa panahong ito," he said. 

(We are worried that the lack of gadgets along with the internet problem in the country may be the reasons why some are discouraged to continue studying.)

Under the proposed measure, the Department of Trade and Industry will be required to craft guidelines on the "sorting and recyciing processes, simple repairs required for donated items and other relevant details for the operation and maintenance of these booths."

A University of the Philippines (UP) study showed that the number of discarded phones in the country will be pegged at 24.9 million units, Lapid said.

Some respondents of the study said thay replace their mobile phones every one or 2 years, the senator said.

Classes in public schools are expected to open on October 5, 2020.