PAMPANGA

Lawmaker wants loans, subsidies for teachers amid pandemic

DEPUTY Speaker Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. is urging the government to launch subsidy and loan programs for teachers and other school personnel in public and private schools to soften the effects of the corona virus pandemic on the academic sector.

The Pampanga lawmaker issued the call amid the growing uncertainty on the opening of classes.

Gonzales filed Resolution No. 905 calling for mobilization of government funds for teachers. The resolution was addressed to the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and National Economic and Development Authority.

Gonzales said it is most likely that classes will not resume unless a Covid-19 vaccine is developed and is available in the country.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte, recognizing the risk the pandemic poses to school children and the people in general, has taken the position that classes would not resume in August as set by the DepEd, unless there is a vaccine to fight the coronavirus disease.

On Monday, the President said allowing students to return to school amid the pandemic would “spell disaster.”

Gonzales said the delay in the opening of classes would seriously affect the employment and income of teachers and non-teaching staff, especially those working in private schools.

“There is thus a need to help the affected school personnel,” he said.

He said he is leaving to the agencies the details of the subsidies and loans they can make available to school workers, provided that loans carry the lowest possible interest.

Earlier, Gonzales opposed the opening of classes in August unless a Covid-19 vaccine is already available.

He said though the education department encourages distance learning through the Internet, this is not possible in the provinces, where telecommunications signals are weak.

Even in many highly urbanized cities and towns, Internet and mobile phone communication is not reliable, he said.


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