Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to accelerate the release and distribution of financial aid allotted by the extended Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 (Republic Act 11494) to qualified basic education learners who are facing financial difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gatchalian made this call following the recent release of a P5,000 grant to 54,761 private school students in higher education who have unpaid tuition and miscellaneous fees. The grant was distributed under the Bayanihan 2 for Higher Education Tulong Program (B2HELP) by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which had a P300 million allocation.
Bayanihan 2 provides for subsidies and allowances to qualified students in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary education whose families are facing financial difficulties following the imposition of quarantine measures and the resulting economic downturn.
These qualified students include those who are not covered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Listahanan, the Education Service Contracting (ESC) Program, the Senior High School Voucher Program (SHS VP), and the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES). Under Bayanihan 2, these subsidies shall be used for unpaid tuition for the school year (SY) 2019-2020 or for payment of tuition fee for SY 2020-2021.
According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) website, the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) authorizing the release of P300 million to DepEd for these subsidies was already approved on December 18, 2020.
“Maraming mga mag-aaral ang matagal nang naghihintay ng tulong pinansyal upang maibsan ang kanilang pangamba pagdating sa mga pangangailangan sa edukasyon. Dapat nating bigyan ng prayoridad ang mabilis na pagpapamahagi ng ayudang ito upang maiparating na natin ang tulong na matagal na nilang hinihintay,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
On December 29, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11519, which extends the validity of funds under Bayanihan 2.