Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the government to step up its game in providing apt and sufficient support to Filipino students, particularly to students who are living below the poverty line, as she lamented the government’s lack of drive in strengthening the education system amid the pandemic.
De Lima made the statement following the release of a report by parent leaders of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid (SNPP), entitled “Edukasyon at 4Ps sa panahon ng Pandemya,” revealing the current struggles of parents and students who are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“Nabasa ko ang mga ulat at naipaabot po sa akin ang panawagan ng 4Ps Parent Leaders sa ilalim ng SNPP para sa karagdagang suporta sa pag-aaral ng ating mga estudyante, lalo na ang mga itinuturing na ‘poorest of the poor’ learners, who are among the most heavily impacted by this pandemic. Hindi lang kalam ng sikmura ang sigaw nila. Hiling din nila na matugunan ang kalam ng isipan at karunungan,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1114.
“Nakakalungkot marinig ang panaghoy at mga iniinda ng mga magulang at mag-aaral na bahagi ng 4Ps na syang sumasalamin sa pinagdadaanan ng milyon-milyong pamilya sa buong bansa. Salat sa kaalaman at hirap matuto bunsod ng kakulangan ng suporta ng pamahalaan,” she added.
De Lima further stated that “the government must listen to the pleas of our students and parents and their recommendations, lest our educational crisis worsen. Ayuda for all students dapat at hindi pwedeng sana all lang.”
In its “Ulat ng Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid,” presented by SNPP Vice President Analiza Natalio last Aug. 4, she said that the result of a survey involving 4Ps beneficiaries and parent leaders revealed that remote learning has become a big struggle for them because not everyone has access to internet and gadgets.
Notably, SNPP underscored the need for extra support for the education of poor students amid the pandemic, such as: “para sa mga mananatili sa remote learning, dagdag na suporta sa gadget at pang-load” and “para tugunan ang mga pamilyang walang kapasidad magturo sa mga anak, dapat may remedial classes na face to face at may para-teacher na magmonitor sa kanila.”
De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said the government prides itself in “malasakit,” but it seems to have a lack of zest in strengthening the education system when the crisis demands that the government give the youth more support.
“Nariyan ang mga bayaning guro na naglabas mula sa kanilang sariling bulsa upang tugunan ang pagkukulang ng gobyerno. Nilangoy nila ang rumaragasang tubig at tinawid ang mga bundok upang maabot ang mga mag-aaral. Pero ang masakit at mapait na katotohanan ay maging ito ay kulang,” she said.
“This government who has never been shy when securing loans should also finally step up its game in providing apt and sufficient support to the education system. The times are hard, but the government must not shirk in its mandate,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol further stressed the need for the government to adapt, saying that the government should not use the pandemic to justify its lack of foresight in responding to the needs of the country’s education system and students.
“Marami sa kanila ay walang pambili dahil inuuna syempre ng magulang na nawalan ng hanapbuhay ang ilalagay sa hapag-kainan. Tugunan din dapat ng sapat at tamang istratehiya ang modular learning na kinakailangang paigtingin pa kung pagbabasehan man lang ang datos,” she said.
Last year, De Lima filed Senate Bill No. 1872 proposing to exempt educational applications, gadgets, computers and e-books from value-added tax for the principal use of teachers and students in online and distant learning. (30)