MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday that schools can use their existing funds to cover the costs incurred by teachers for internet access with the shift to distance learning.
Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the department was not authorized to give internet allowance under its 2020 budget, but it can be given as a "communication expense" using funding from the schools' Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).
"Wala tayong [internet] allowance ngayon at hindi 'yan naka-authorize sa 2020 budget," Sevilla said in a virtual press briefing.
(We don't have internet allowance right now and that's not authorized under our 2020 budget.)
"Mayroon tayong MOOE na ginagamit. At 'yong MOOE ay isang expense pool na puwedeng gamitin ng ating mga principal at superintendents for our communication expenses," she added.
(We have an MOOE. And the MOOE is an expense pool that principals and superintendents can use to cover communication expenses.)
In a separate interview with reporters in Pasig, Sevilla said that the department was eyeing to include teachers' internet allowance under its 2021 budget.
"Kami ay sumulat na para kami ay bigyan ng authorization at magkaroon ng pondo na maibigay natin ito," she said.
(We have already written letters for authorization and so we can have funds to give internet allowance.)
"Kung hindi man ito allowance, kailangan siguro mayroon tayong sistema na ang ating teachers at mag-aaral ay may subsidiya o access sa isang network pang-edukasyon."
(If it won't be an allowance, we need to have a sistem where our teachers and students have subsidies or access to a network for education.)
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers is asking DepEd to provide a P1,500 monthly internet allowance for educators, said Raymond Basilio, the group's secretary general.
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition, for its part, is asking for a P2,000 internet allowance.
On Monday, some 22.5 million students in Philippine public schools resumed their studies through distance learning as in-person classes remain suspended due to the continued threat of COVID-19.
— With a report from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News