547 education workers, students get COVID-19 in Cordillera, Calabarzon: group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2020 12:55 PM

A teacher gives her toddler son tasks to accomplish to keep him busy while she attends to 3 virtual classes simultaneously on October 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – A teachers’ group on Thursday raised concerns over the growing number of education workers who have contracted the new coronavirus after it recorded over 540 cases in just 2 regions. 

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio said his group has recorded 547 cases of teachers, non-teaching personnel and even learners with COVID-19 from the Cordillera Administrative Region and Calabarzon, as of Tuesday.

Of the figure, 245 are teachers, 52 are non-teaching personnel while 250 are learners, he said, adding that ACT is gathering data from other regions.

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In an interview with TeleRadyo, Basilio said there has also been increasing incidents of teachers going into isolation or quarantine after being exposed to people infected with COVID-19 while distributing printed modules.

“Dumami din ‘yong cases ng mga teacher na nasa isolation ngayon pagktapos noong pamimigay ng module noong nakaraang linggo, kung saan marami sa kanila ay na-expose sa parents na COVID-19-positive,” said Basilio, whose group includes over 200,000 members.

(There was an increase in the cases of teachers who went into isolation after distributing modules last week, where many of them were exposed to parents who were COVID-19-positive.)

Basilio decried the lack of financial support that infected education workers are getting from government.

“Malaking bahagi ng gastusin sa pagkakasakit sa COVID-19 ay hindi shouldered ng PhilHealth. Kaya sa aming cases na na-monitor, talagang nagshe-shell out ng pera ‘yong teachers, naglo-loan upang pambayad sa kanilang hospital bills,” he said.

(A bulk of the expenses for COVID-19 treatment is not shouldered by PhilHealth. That’s why in the cases we’ve monitored, teachers had to shell out their own money or make loans just to pay hospital bills.)

ABS-CBN News has reached out to Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua, who heads the DepEd Task Force COVID-19, for a comment.

Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla earlier explained that the DepEd could not cover the treatment and hospitalization expenses of education workers sickened with COVID-19 since it was not included in their 2020 budget.

But Sevilla added that teachers and other DepEd personnel can avail benefit packages offered by the PhilHealth, whose officials were recently hounded with allegations of corruption.

In August, the DepEd reported 823 confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel and learners.

The Philippines has logged a total of 346,536 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Oct. 14, of which, 46,227 are active infections.

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