ILOILO CITY – Ligtas Balik Eskwela (LBE) campaign has reached more communities in Iloilo City and nearby towns. According to a report by Nagkakaisa nga Katilingban sang mga Kababainhan nga Imol sa Syudad, the campaign reached Oton town and barangays in Iloilo City such as Rizal, Calaparan, San Juan, Tabuc Suba, Bito-on, Punong, and Sinikway.

“I can’t help my child much in school because I’m working. The online classes are burdensome because I have to provide the gadget to my child and spend also for his internet. It would be good to implement LBE so that our burden as poor families will somehow be lifted,” said a parent in Lapuz when asked why they want their children to go back to school.

In a short period of time, according to the Kabataan Partylist-Panay, they were able to collect thousands of signatures from the communities for their campaign. This, they added, shows greater support for such campaign and a manifestation that students, teachers, and parents already want to open schools.

Ligtas Balik Eskwela is the major campaign of the Back-to-School Network (BTS). According to BTS Network spokesperson Phillipe Hiñosa, the so-called ‘online learning modality’ is an additional burden to the people who are now suffering from the pandemic where the price of goods is very high and the lockdown in the communities is still ongoing.

It can be noted that on September 12, the said alliance held an online discussion on the education crisis, where they explained why schools need to be open, and why is there a need to increase budget for education and health. The discussion also included the group’s demand for 10,000 pesos student aid.

On the day of class opening this year, September 13, youth groups Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, and others submitted the third batch of signatures they have collected under the LBE campaign to the offices of the City’s Mayor and Congressman, Commission on Higher Education 6 and Department of Education 6.

Last week, September 30, workers, youth, women, and peasants gathered in the House of Representatives for a protest action to condemn the government’s immediate passing of next year’s national budget without considering the condition of the people.

According to the Kabataan Partylist’s first nominee Raoul Manuel, a large percentage of next year’s budget is still reserved for confidential and intelligence funds despite the fact that millions of Filipinos are hungry and impoverished due to the pandemic. Among the calls of the group are to abolish the NTF-ELCAC and the realignment of military funds to education and social services.

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