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UPHOLD WELFARE OF COVID-HIT TEACHERS – GATCHALIAN

With classes set to open amid the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, Senator Win Gatchalian is pressing the national government to uphold the welfare of teachers, especially those falling ill with COVID-19.

Gatchalian’s call came after Department of Education (DepED) Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla raised concerns in a public hearing that the agency proposed financial assistance for school personnel who will get infected with the coronavirus disease for School Year 2021-2022 but was not considered in the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP).

DepEd explained that under the national budget, it is not authorized to spend for the treatment of personnel who test positive for COVID-19.

DepEd personnel, however, can avail of packages from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) should they get infected.

“A special arrangement with PhilHealth would be the quickest way to provide relief to teachers.”

While the veteran legislator acknowledges that Congress can amend the proposed 2022 budget to consider DepEd’s proposal, he said that a special arrangement with PhilHealth—such as the creation of a special lane at the very least—would be the quickest way to provide relief to teachers.

“I recommend that DepEd work with PhilHealth, kahit na special lane lang. I think that will be a big help dahil masakit iyong reimbursement type, pay first and then they get reimbursement. Pero alam naman natin that reimbursement takes time. Some of the reimbursement takes two months or three months. In fact, if you don’t follow it up, it will take forever,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

“Our teachers need to feel special because they are also doing special work at this time,” the seasoned lawmaker added.

“In the crafting of the 2022 budget, I will push for amendments that will give authorization on the provision of assistance to DepEd personnel getting infected with COVID-19.”

The senator assured DepEd that in the crafting of the 2022 budget, he will push for amendments that will give authorization on the provision of assistance to personnel getting infected with COVID-19.

Since the implementation of the distance learning program, teachers’ groups have been lamenting the lack of financial assistance from the education department for teachers and staff who test positive for the coronavirus.

Aside from the P5,000 cash allowance in June, a Special Hardship Allowance (SHA), which is 25% of the teachers’ monthly basic salary, is expected to be given ahead of school opening.

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