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Prompt aid for displaced teachers, non-teaching staff sought with enactment of Bayanihan 2

Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking the immediate and smooth distribution of aid for displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel now that the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2) is signed into law.

PASAY CITY – Senator Win Gatchalian writes down notes as he presides the session at the plenary hall of the Senate. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

On September 10, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that 748 out of 14,435 private schools nationwide are not operating for the school year (SY) 2020-2021 which affects 3,233 teachers and 40,345 learners. Only two million (2,050,797) learners have enrolled in private schools for SY 2020-2021, an equivalent of 47.63 percent compared to the 4,304,676 learners enrolled in SY 2019-2020.

On September 12, the number of private basic education institutions suspending operations rose to 846.  DepEd officials have yet to quantify how many additional teachers and learners are affected.

Bayanihan 2 allocates P300 million to provide one-time cash assistance to displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions. The provision covers part-time faculty and non-permanent teaching personnel. Part-time faculty in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) who have lost their jobs and have not received their salaries are also covered.

The lawmaker urged DepEd to build a database for the smooth distribution of aid. To do this, DepEd needs to proactively seek out displaced teachers, personnel, and students and coordinate with school associations. According to Gatchalian, teachers and non-teaching staff should be spared from the glitches of implementing the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), noting that teachers and non-teaching staff have long waited to receive financial support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from the one-time financial cash assistance to affected teaching and non-teaching personnel, P600 million is allotted to subsidies and allowances for qualified students in public and private schools who were affected by lockdown measures and are not part of government educational subsidies and voucher programs. These subsidies, which will be released directly to schools, will be applied for unpaid tuition in SY 2019-2020 or the payment of tuition for SY 2020-2021.

Gatchalian added that building this database of displaced teachers and non-teaching staff would help DepEd target candidates for its teaching and non-teaching positions, including para-teachers and tutors for distance learning. According to the National Expenditure Program (NEP) 2021, 43,780 of the 976,520 authorized DepEd positions are yet to be filled.

“Ngayon at ganap nang batas ang Bayanihan 2, dapat siguruhin nating agarang maipapaabot sa ating mga guro at mga kawaning nawalan ng trabaho ang ayuda mula sa pamahalaan. Matagal naghintay ang mga guro at kawaning nawalan ng trabaho kaya dapat nating siguruhing hindi magkakaroon ng aberya ang pamamahagi ng tulong pinansya para sa kanila,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.