Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano appealed for direct cash aid for private school teachers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an outsized effect on educational institutions run by the private sector.
During the Sampung Libong Pag-asa livestream event on October 1, Cayetano said it is important to extend financial help to daycare workers and teachers in private schools because they support the public school system in most local governments.
“Balance yan e. Kapag biglang lumipat sa public school lahat ng estudyante, hindi rin kakayanin e,” Cayetano said.
(It’s a balance. If all of the students transfer to public schools, they wouldn’t be able to take the pressure.)
The lawmaker added that private schools offer specialized curricula that cater to the spiritual needs of their students.
“May mga specialization din yung mga private schools, for example yung mga Catholic schools at mga madrassah, they supply students with extra learnings sa religion. So we have to keep both the public and the private school system healthy, and they need our help now,” Cayetano said.
(These private schools have specializations, for example, Catholic schools and madrassas, they supply students with extra learnings in religion. So we have to keep both the public and the private school system healthy, and they need our help now.)
The former House Speaker acknowledged that the pandemic has had an outsized effect on private schools and the teachers they employ, because they don’t have the same funding guarantees that the public school system enjoys.
“Hindi katulad sa public school na tuloy-tuloy ang sweldo dahil may budget ang gobyerno, sa private school, kapag bumaba ang enrollment o sinabing homeschooling muna, apektado sila,” Cayetano said.
(It’s not like in public schools where teachers continue to receive their salaries because the government has the budget for it. In private schools, if enrollment dips or if the students shift to homeschooling, their teachers are greatly affected.)
In September, the Department of Education confirmed that at least 865 private schools across the country shuttered during the 2020-2021 academic year.
The situation has led many private school teachers to take on odd jobs and side gigs just to make ends meet, according to Taguig-Pateros 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano.
“Yung iba pong mga guro ay napilitan na na parang bukod sa ilang araw lang na pumapasok sa school ay may iba pang trabaho na ginagawa on the side just to survive,” she said.
(Other teachers have been forced to take on side jobs, on top of reporting for work during school days, just to survive.)
On the macro level, Cayetano recognized that private schools were at a systemic disadvantage because they are run as businesses, that’s why some have had to downsize or fold amid the pandemic.
“Mapanghamon po ang panahon ngayon, lalo na sa mga private schools natin, kung saan they don’t get the kind of benefits na binigibigay sa public schools sa bansa. Karamihan po sa kanila ay nag-downsize na ng kanilang staff,” she said.
(These are challenging times for private schools, because they don’t get the same benefits that public schools receive. Most of them have had to downsize their staff.)
Amid the damage wrought on private schools by the pandemic and the resulting restrictions on learners, former House Speaker Cayetano said sufficient cash aid was key to the survival of these institutions and their staff.
“Ang gobyerno po, kayang magbigay ng P10,000 sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino plus bawat small businesses. So P500 billion ang madadagdag sa budget ng gobyerno next year. P200 billion lang po ang hinihingi natin para lahat na po ng small businesses at lahat ng pamilyang Pilipino na kasali sa 4Ps, mabibigyan,” Cayetano said.
(The government can give P10,000 to every Filipino family and to every small business. So P500 billion would be added to the national budget for next year. We only need P200 billion to be able to give cash aid to all small businesses and families currently on social welfare.)
Around 90 daycare workers and teachers ended National Teachers Month on a high note after they were granted P10,000 each through former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s Sampung Libong Pag-Asa COVID-19 financial aid initiative.
Aside from the educators, another 60 people chosen online also received cash aid during the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa livestream event on Friday, October 1, 2021, for a total of 150 beneficiaries.
The teachers who received the cash grants were from Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Tagaytay City, Cavite; and the second congressional district of Batangas. The online beneficiaries, on the other hand, hailed from different parts of the country.
Sampung Libong Pag-Asa, an initiative started in May 2021 by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies in Congress, has reached 11,482 beneficiaries as of October 1, 2021.