Press Release
September 13, 2021

Gatchalian on the opening of SY 2020-2021: uphold the safety of education frontliners

As more than 24.6 million learners resume home-based learning at the opening of SY 2021-2022, Senator Win Gatchalian reiterated the need to uphold the safety and welfare of the country's teachers, non-teaching staff, and school officials amid the persisting threat of COVID-19.

For the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, giving this assurance to the country's education frontliners is the best way to thank them for their hard work and sacrifices to implement the Department of Education's (DepEd) distance learning program.

"Nagpapasalamat ako sa ating mga guro, mga kawani, at mga school officials dahil kung wala ang kanilang sipag, dedikasyon, at patuloy na sakripisyo, hindi natin maipagpapatuloy ang edukasyon sa gitna ng pandemya. Ngunit dahil patuloy ang banta ng COVID-19, dapat nating tiyaking protektado sila at meron silang matatakbuhan kapag sila ay tinamaan ng sakit," said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian noted that even without in-person learning, activities such as the printing and distribution of self-learning modules still expose teachers, staff, and school officials to the coronavirus disease.

While DepEd personnel who get infected with COVID-19 are covered by packages from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Gatchalian noted that they still need to spend out of their pockets before receiving reimbursements from the state insurer. Since this tends to be a burden for education frontliners who fell ill with COVID-19, Gatchalian urged DepEd to work with PhilHealth in creating a "special lane" to ensure speedier provision of financial aid.

Gatchalian also reiterated the need to vaccinate both teachers and minors to ensure safety in the gradual reopening of schools, which should start with pilot testing in low-risk areas. Earlier this year, Gatchalian called for the inclusion of teachers in the A4 priority list of the government's COVID-19 vaccination program. He now calls on the government to start the inoculation of minors aged 12-17.

The National Economic and Development Authority estimates that last year's school closures will cost the country P11 trillion in the next 40 years. Because of the learning and economic losses resulting from yearlong school closures, Gatchalian said that the country cannot handle another year without face-to-face classes.

News Latest News Feed