Amid the nationwide celebration of National Children’s Month this November, Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the government to ensure that the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will uphold the welfare of children.
Gatchalian emphasized the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, especially during the imposition of lockdowns. Aside from learning loss due to the lack of face-to-face classes, Gatchalian also pointed out that children became more exposed to different forms of violence and mental health issues, among others, at the height of pandemic restrictions.
While the resumption of full face-to-face classes is a significant step forward, Gatchalian pressed the need to strengthen measures that will address the pandemic’s impact on children’s well-being. These include the implementation of genuine learning recovery, sustained psychosocial intervention, and child protection measures.
Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 150 or the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Act, a priority measure for the 19th Congress to address learning loss, seeks to institute a national learning intervention program that will include well-systematized tutorial sessions and well-designed remediation plans. It will focus on essential learning competencies in Language, Mathematics, and Science.
The proposed measure also seeks adequate provision of nutritional, social, and emotional health support to ensure the holistic well-being of learners, for them to prosper academically, and build resilience against adversity.
Gatchalian also filed Senate Bill No. 379 or the Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act, which aims to institutionalize the Mental Health and Well-Being Program. The bill calls for the establishment of a Mental Health and Well-Being Center in basic education schools, which will deliver mental and well-being services to address the mental, emotional, and developmental needs of learners, as well as teachers and non-teaching personnel.
“Sa patuloy na pagbangon natin mula sa pandemya, mahalagang tutukan natin ang kapakanan ng ating mga kabataan, lalo na’t kasama sila sa mga pinaka-apektado ng pinsalang dulot ng COVID-19. Mahalagang hakbang ang muling pagbabalik ng face-to-face classes, ngunit marami pa tayong maaaring gawin upang lalo pang itaguyod ang kaligtasan at kapakanan ng ating mga kabataan,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.