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GATCHALIAN: KEEP CHILDREN SAFE IN COVID RECOVERY

Amid the celebration of the National Children’s Month this November, Senator Win Gatchalian pressed the need to ensure that COVID-19 recovery efforts will uphold the rights and welfare of children.

Gatchalian pointed out that school closures and restrictions on children’s movement took their toll on the well-being and safety of children.

While the government has already started the vaccination of minors aged 12-17 and the pilot test of limited face-to-face classes is set to begin, the veteran legislator also bats for a learning recovery program to mitigate the effects of prolonged school closures.

Senate Bill No. 2355 seeks to establish a learning recovery program known as the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL).

The seasoned lawmaker earlier filed Senate Bill No. 2355 which seeks to establish a learning recovery program known as the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL).

The program will cover the most essential learning competencies under Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10 and Science for Grades 3 to 10.

For Kindergarten learners, literacy and numeracy competencies will be strengthened.

The proposed program will target those who did not enroll last school year and those who are struggling to master the minimum level of mastery required in Language, Mathematics, and Science.

It also seeks the adequate provision of nutritional, social, emotional, and mental health support to learners.

The lack of face-to-face classes for one year will result in a projected P11-trillion loss in productivity over the next 40 years.

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimates that the lack of face-to-face classes for one year will result in a projected P11-trillion loss in productivity over the next 40 years.

“Matinding pinsala ang dulot ng COVID-19 sa ating mga kabataan kaya naman sa ating pagbangon mula sa pandemya, dapat nating tiyaking hindi sila mapag-iiwanan,” said the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

The senator also highlighted the need to prioritize the safe reopening of schools in the 2022 national budget.

He earlier flagged that the P358 million allocated for Priority School Health Facilities might not be adequate to ensure water, sanitation, and health facilities in schools that still lack them.

Gatchalian also pressed to increase funding for the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council, an attached agency of the Department of Education (DepEd).

The proposed P71.9 million allocation for the agency in 2022 is 59% lower than this year’s budget.

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