PH govt urged to prioritize teachers in COVID-19 vaccination line

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 9) — Filipino teachers must also move up in the government's COVID-19 vaccination priority list to ensure the continuous delivery of education amid the pandemic, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said Friday.

In a statement, the ACT said it submitted a formal request to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases urging the latter to move teachers to the front of the vaccination line.

Under the vaccination priority list, teachers fall under Phase 2 - B1.

The ACT is demanding that the IATF elevate teachers from B1 to A4 category, joining frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified as essential during enhanced community quarantine.

READ: LIST: Priority sectors, subgroups in COVID-19 vaccination program

The group stressed that teachers are considered frontliners as they are "compelled to report to schools and visit communities to distribute modules and facilitate other government programs, such as the Department of Health’s deworming project."

“We are alarmed by the increasing number of teachers infected every day as they perform their sworn service to our learners. Without enough protection from the government, not only are their lives put on the line but also is the future of education,” said Raymond Basilio ACT Secretary-General.

Basilio cited the situation in August to October of last year when the DepEd was preparing for school opening, the sector recorded a 452% surge in the number of infected personnel.

He said that was "enough evidence of the teachers’ high level of vulnerability to infection."

“It is a blow to our teachers’ morale that the Duterte government overlooks the value of their work as the country grapples with the pandemic, not to mention the immense hardships and risks that they bear under the ill-prepared distance learning,” Basilio added.