Assistant Minority Leader France Castro on Friday urged Congress to allocate funds for the P1,500 monthly internet allowance for teachers.
Castro raised the call in the wake of the expiration of the DepEd 349 SIM cards that teachers use in their online classes.
Castro, the nominee of the party-list group ACT-Teachers to the legislature, said the urgent passage of House Bill 7034 or the Internet Allowance for Public School Teachers Act and the funding for the P1500 monthly internet allowance for teachers in the 2022 national budget should be a priority owing to the blended distance learning.
“Teachers nationwide have struggled with various tasks requiring the use of information and communications technology with a bulk of online tasks and a substantial need for digital access. Teachers still rely on their already measly salaries to get access to internet data,” Castro said.
The lawmaker added that “the DepEd 349 SIM cards that provided teachers with 34 gigabytes (GB) on monthly load only lasted for three months, many of these SIM cards will expire within the month.”
“The 34GB monthly data load is already not enough for online classes and other online tasks of teachers, many of them do not even have mobile signals for the SIM cards in some areas, while others do not have adequate gadgets to insert the card making such program of the
DepEd insufficient, inaccessible and impractical,” she added.
“With this already insufficient program of DepEd expiring, teachers are again left with nothing and no choice but to use their ownsalaries to make sure they still have access to the Internet for their blended learning classes.”
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers earlier said that teachers with the expired DepEd 349 SIM cards will no longer receive the 1GB daily data allowance and will be left with only the accumulated unused 4GB monthly data provision, if there are any.
“We reiterate our call for the P1,500 monthly internet allowance for teachers engaged in blended distance learning. We filed House Bill 7034 last June 26, 2020, before the first pandemic school year began.
We also included the P1,500 monthly Internet allowance for every teacher engaged in blended distance learning in the proposed budget amendments for the 2022 national budget.”
Castro, a member of the Makabayan Bloc, also appealed to Congress to heed the demands of the country’s teachers and provide them adequate support for education continuity.