Press Release
October 3, 2020

Gatchalian urges safe school opening; donates back-to-school essentials

As classes for the school year 2020-2021 get underway, Senator Win Gatchalian raises concerns on the safety and welfare of educators nationwide as they distribute self-learning modules.

The senator reiterates that teachers and school personnel should be assured that all of their school needs are addressed since they are crucial in the roll-out of the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP). A back-to-school list should now include face masks and face shields, according to Gatchalian. He, however, is quick to point out that investing in safety gears and protective equipment for a long period of time could be costly to teachers.

"Kailangan nating tulungan ang mga guro na protektahan ang kanilang mga sarili laban sa COVID-19. Mayroon sa kanila ang naglabas na mula sa sarili nilang bulsa para may maipambili lang ng gagamitin para sa distance learning, pati pambili ng face masks at alcohol. Huwag nating hayaang madagdagan pa ang gastusin nila," said Gatchalian.

The lawmaker is donating 3.5 million face masks and 600 thousand face shields to various schools in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna. More than 150 thousand (155,536) public school teachers, school and assistant school principals, public school district supervisors, school division superintendents, and assistant school division superintendents will benefit from the donation.

The donation kicks off today at the Valenzuela School of Mathematics and Science with Senator Gatchalian personally turning over face masks and face shields to the school's teachers and principals.

"Isa lamang ito sa mga eskwelahan na bibisitahin natin para mamigay ng face masks at face shields. Kailangang masiguro natin na ligtas ang mga guro, punong-guro, pati na ibang kawani ng paaralan sa pagbubukas ng klase sa Lunes," said Gatchalian.

Education officials earlier said that the agency's 2020 budget does not cover COVID-19 medication, treatment, or hospitalization of teachers and non-teaching staff.

"Dahil hindi naman sakop ang mga guro sa pondo ng ahensiya para sa mga gastusing may kinalaman sa COVID-19, mas mainam na makaiwas sila sa posibleng pagkahawa sa virus kaya malaking bagay ang face masks at face shields para hindi rin makahawa sa mga estudyanteng tatanggap ng mga learning modules, " said Gatchalian.

The DepEd has earlier said that regional offices and school division offices should have established health and safety protocols ahead of the October 5 school opening in order to distribute the modules without endangering teachers and students.

"By stocking up on face coverings, we're hoping that teachers and school heads can protect themselves and their students from the coronavirus disease," he said.

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