Gatchalian pushes to restore teachers' medical benefit under 2021 budget

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2020 06:44 PM

Teacher Manuelito Bermudez prepares his teaching materials for his next synchronous class at Pleasant Hills Elementary School in Mandaluyong City on October 5, 2020, the start of distance learning in public schools in the country. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday pushed for the restoration of teachers’ medical allowance under 2021 budget, saying keeping educators healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic was "crucial."

Last month, the national government released P400 million for the medical examination of teachers, but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) removed the allocation under the 2021 budget, Gatchalian said in a statement.

"Bilang mga frontliners sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon, isinasakripisyo ng mga guro ang kanilang kaligtasan at kalusugan, kaya hindi natin dapat ipagkait ang ano mang uri ng suportang maaari nating ibigay sa kanila," said the senator who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

(As frontliners in the field of education, teachers are sacrificing their health and safety that's why we should not stop providing them with the support they need.)

While the government suspended physical classes while waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine, several teachers are still required to come to school to facilitate the distribution of self-learning modules, or to access computers used for the distance learning system.

Gatchalian said he would push for a portion of the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget to be reallocated for the "restoration of public school teachers’ medical benefits."

Under next year's budget, the Department of Education is expected to receive P605.74 billion, 9.54 percent higher than the agency's P552.9 billion budget this year.

In August, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth said that it would cover the hospitalization expenses of teachers who would contract COVID-19.

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