Gatchalian urges swift release of implementing rules on ₱300-M aid for teachers, non-teaching staff who lost jobs due to the pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — The chairman of the Senate Committee on Education called for the swift release of implementing rules of the ₱300-million aid for teachers and non-teaching staff who lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Ang amin pong itinutulak ay bilisan yung implementing rules dahil nga meron tayong 2.3 million students na hindi nag-enroll. Sa private school po yan ay kulang-kulang nasa 50,000 na estudyante ang hindi nag-enroll, at close to about 4,000 teachers and non-teaching staff sa private schools na nawalan ng trabaho," Senator Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian said Tuesday during a televised briefing.

[Translation: We are pushing for the quick release of the implementing rules. because there are 2.3 million students did not enroll. In private schools, that its about 50,000 students, and close to about 4,000 teacfhers and non teaching staff in private schools lost their jobs]

The senator said those who became jobless must be given help, including jobs that are available at the DepEd.

Of the ₱300 million, Gatchalian said they see a 50-50 split of the funds between the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

"Ang nakikita naming formula ay 50-50...ngunit mas marami sa CHED ang mga guro. Pero marami po ring SUCs at LUCs na merong senior high school na nabawasan rin po yung kanilang enrollment ho doon. Kaya ang naririnig naming formula sa DepEd at sa CHED ay gagawing 50-50 yung pagbibigay ng tulong. Fifty percent sa basic education, 50 percent sa higher education," he said.

[Translation: The formula we see is 50-50...but there are more teachers in the CHED. However, there are a lot of SUCs and LUCs who have senior high school students who have not enrolled. So the formula we hear coming from the DepEd and CHED is 50 percent for basic education and 50 percent for higher education.]

Earlier this month, the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges estimated that 3,207 SUC employees will lose their jobs amid school closures and the shift to a new kind of schooling. Affected are those without security of tenure. 

"Data from 70 SUCs show that there are 1,099 contractual or part-time staff faculty who will be displaced, and there 2,108 non-teaching employees who will no longer be engaged in our SUCs," PASUC President Tirso Ronquillo said in a Sept. 10 at the House of Representatives.

Gatachalian is also pushing for the creation of a nationwide database of those needing help so the distribution of aid would be easier and more streamlined.

In the same briefing, the senator said he was backing the alternative learning system under the DepEd to give students who had to leave school a second chance.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the proposed Alternative Learning System (ALS) Act, seeking to institutionalize alternative learning in every city and municipality nationwide.

The Senate passed the proposed ALS Act on third reading last May.

Gatchalian said the passage of the bill was in "perfect timing" as there were over 2 million students who were unable to enroll this year, probably due to the lack of funds.

"Dito po papasok ang alternative learning system dahil ang alternative learning system ay isang paraan para makuha ng isang bata ang kanyang equivalency test at accreditation na...katumbas ng isang high school diploma na pwede gamitin sa patuloy na pag-aaral sa kolehiyo, o kung gusto niyang magtrabaho ang tingin sa kanya ay at least high school graduate at mas mataas ang kanyang sweldo," he said.

[Translation: The alternative learning system comes into play here because it is a way for the youth to get their equivalency test and accreditation which is equivalent to a high school diploma that can be used for college, or if they want to work, they are seen as at least high school diplomas and they can have a better wage.]