In the news, A Teachers’ group urges DepEd to fund P1,500 monthly internet allowance for educators, DepEd has funds for teachers’ monthly internet allowance, ACT bares.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) revealed that the Department of Education (DepEd) has ‘more than enough’ budget to provide for the group’s demand to provide the almost one million public school teachers with P1,500 per month internet allowance. The group estimates that the said stipend will only amount to P1.5 billion a month and a total of P16.5 billion for the months of June 2020 to April 2021.
“Internet connection is basic and vital for DepEd’s work-from-home arrangements and distance learning. Without it, teachers won’t be able to conduct meetings, enroll learners, submit forms and reports, hold classes, and monitor and assess students. Hence, DepEd must fund this necessity that now plays key to its mandate to deliver education,” pressed ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio stressed that the provision of sufficient technological and logistical support will be decisive in enabling DepEd’s Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) and Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE). ACT said that the agency’s 2020 allocation for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) is P95 billion, with P30.6 billion going to school operations. This means that the funding requirement for vital internet allowance will only be 17.4% of DepEd’s total MOOE and 54% of school operations budget.
“These figures prove that the granting of an internet allowance is completely doable as DepEd is sure to gain much from the savings in the utilities and supplies expenditures of schools and offices since the lockdown and the whole period when face-to-face reporting and classes will remain prohibited,” argued Basilio.
Basilio hit DepEd for ‘magnifying the meager P3,500 per year teaching supplies allowance to cover up its failure to provide for the necessities of distance learning.’ He said that the amount could only cover up to two months of internet expenses, while teachers are still beset with concerns of laptops that need repair and upgrading, cellphone load to contact students and other expenses for the development of their teaching materials.
“DepEd is making it appear like teachers are getting a new allowance when in fact it is an old benefit that teachers gained through years of struggle and is now sorely insufficient given the great financial demands of distance learning on teachers,” explained Basilio.
Basilio further pointed to other DepEd funds from where the internet allowance may be sourced.
“It will further save on hefty training funds as only a P200–P300 cellphone load credits is allowed for disbursement to teacher-participants in webinars while the pre-pandemic allotment amounts to P1,500 per participant for venue and food. Budget for officials’ travels abroad should also be tapped as travel restrictions remain in place due to the pandemic. DepEd may also use its generated income from revolving funds like the service charges from private lending institutions that make use of the agency’s APDS (Automatic Payroll Deduction System),” cited Basilio.
ACT added revenue sources at the school level such as penalties for lost DepEd-issued materials, fees for venue rentals, income generating projects, and donations from private stakeholders.
The teachers’ group echoed to the agency the consistent call of DepEd officials to teachers: ‘find ways and means, be creative and resourceful.’ Educators and learners deserve nothing less from the government, ACT concluded.
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