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Teachers' group calls for inclusion of internet subsidy in 'Bayanihan 3'

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Teachers' group calls for inclusion of internet subsidy in 'Bayanihan 3'
This photo shows Rep. Stella Quimbo (Marikina) receiving the petition on March 19, 2021 by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers for the inclusion of teachers' internet subsidy in the Bayanihan 3.
Release / ACT

MANILA, Philippines — Teachers on Wednesday urged Congress to include a monthly internet subsidy in the proposed 'Bayanihan 3' for their work under distance learning.

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (Leyte) has said that the lower house will include among its priorities the passage of the P405.6 billion-economic stimulus package as they resumed session this week.

Earlier Wednesday, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers sent lawmakers a petition signed by 17,377 teachers for a 1,500-peso internet allowance per month.

"For 11 months now, our teachers have been shouldering the burdensome operational expenses of distance learning," said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general. "Current government efforts to ease teachers of these financial burdens are evidently insufficient."

Teachers addressed the petition to House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque), Appropriations Committee chairperson Eric Yap (ACT-CIS), and Rep. Stella Quimbo (Marikina), the principal author of the Bayanihan 3. 

They noted that Velasco and Quimbo's original proposals had P30 billion for education in the measure, but it was slashed to only P1.2 billion in the version approved by the committee. ACT said this would only give teachers P200 a month.

Over the weekend, the Department of Education said it will provide internet load to teachers good for three months by June.

Basilio, however, said this will barely help the majority of teachers who have already subscribed to internet connection plans. 

He added: "The importance of such provision to the continuity of education amid the pandemic cannot be overstated, especially with the palpable learning crisis that our education system is suffering amid the health and economic crises."

The current school year will end on July 10, a month from the original date after DepEd extended the calendar. Teacher and student groups have long relayed difficulties under the current setup, such as on access to internet and gadget availability. 

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DISTANCE LEARNING HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STELLA QUIMBO
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