DepEd pressed on aid for 'rising infection' of COVID-19 among teachers
A public school teacher records a lesson for her class under DepEd's distance learning this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

DepEd pressed on aid for 'rising infection' of COVID-19 among teachers

(Philstar.com) - March 31, 2021 - 5:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — A teacher's group on Wednesday sought aid from government for teachers who test positive for COVID-19 in line of their duty, as it said infection among the sector is on the rise.  

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers in a statement said a number of DepEd personnel in Metro Manila alone were reported to have contracted the virus. 

From their ground monitoring, ACT said this translates to 70 teaching and 21 non-teaching personnel in Quezon City, where five had already died. In Marikina, there are 21 active cases in a quarantine facility, while the figure from Makati is at 14 and six in Las Pinas with one death.

In a public school in Pasay, 10 individuals are under home quarantine, while one is staying at an isolation facility.

"We are alarmed by the government's continuous neglect of our teachers' welfare," said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general.

"It is an affront to their efforts and morale as education frontliners who are tirelessly working to salvage the distressing state of our education amid the pandemic."

ACT added that the teachers had received help from their local governments, but none from DepEd so far. Philstar.com has sought comment from DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Anne Sevilla, but she has yet to reply.

Earlier this month, the department reported before the Senate Committee on Education that its tally of COVID-19 infections stands at 4,468 — or 2,830 school personnel and 1,638 students.

The count at that time does not include yet the 30 who attended an in-person training of teachers in Zambales and were reportedly infected. DepEd said it did not approve of the event and added that support will be given to those affected.

Basilio urged the agency to put up a medical fund to support the hospital and medical needs of personnel who would contract the COVID-19.

Citing the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers passed in 1966, he said government has the mandate to ensure free hospitalization and treatment, "but has not implemented this ever since and the Duterte administration has 'not lifted a finger to fulfill this responsibility.'"

“By all means, teachers should be considered frontline personnel in essential sectors as they deliver education amid the pandemic," Basilio added. "Many of those infected have contracted the virus as they perform their duties—while reporting to schools, attending DepEd seminars and doing home visitation. This only shows how precarious the work of teachers is amid the health crisis."

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