Go pushes for free school supplies, teacher’s pay hike
BATANGAS CITY – Former Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday vowed to push for legislative measures that give priority to the education sector, particularly on provision of free school supplies for students and increased salaries for teachers.
Go graced the “Alay Lakad” (walk for a cause) in this city, where he spoke in front of some 8,000 participants in the simultaneous event hosted by the Alay Lakad Foundation across the country, in time for its 46th anniversary celebration.
He said education is one of his priority advocacies and that students all over the country should be given free school supplies, on top of the free tuition currently being granted to them in public schools.
“Many of our youths do not have money to buy the things that they need in school, so school supplies and other requirements should be free,” Go told the crowd in the provincial sports complex here.
He endorsed the proposal as Alay Lakad is a fund-raising activity that aims to help marginalized and out-of-school youth finish their studies.
He mentioned in past interviews that currently, school supplies are being provided for free in some local government units (LGU) through their Special Education Fund, although this depends on the LGU’s capacity to fund their education programs for constituents.
“Hindi lahat ng LGUs pantay-pantay kaya hindi lahat kaya magbigay ng libreng school supplies tulad ng notebooks. National concern ang mabigyan ng tulong ang mga estudyante na makatapos ng pag-aaral kung kaya’t pag-aaralan ko paano maging national program ito na pwedeng idagdag sa budget ng Department of Education,” he said.
In an interview, Go assured he would personally follow up the status of the increase in salaries of public school teachers with President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“I will certainly be following this matter up with the President. But I know this will push through right after the salary standardization. Just like our policemen, they will be the next to benefit,” Go said referring to the completion of the four-year Salary Standardization in 2019.
He added that “President Duterte promised it during the convention of school principals in Davao City and I know he would fulfill it.”
He also assured the audience that he will prioritize certain legislative concerns if elected in the Senate, which include the improvement of the Universal Healthcare Bill to institutionalize the Malasakit Centers nationwide; amend the Juvenile Justice Law to protect minors from being used by drug syndicates, and review the Continuing Professional Development Law to make continuing development less burdensome to professionals.
Go also revealed to the Batangueño crowd about his Batangueño roots – referring to his mother who belongs to the Tesoro clan of Batangas – although he is more known as a Visayan from Mindanao.
Alay Lakad was first conducted in 1972, and due to its noble cause and success, it spread in many parts of the Philippines. Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo, president of Batangas State University, currently serves as the president of Batangas Province Alay Lakad Foundation while Governor Hermilando Mandanas serves as honorary chairperson. (Dick Garay/PNA)