ILOILO CITY – The Back-to-School Network Panay held a dialogue with Iloilo City Councilor Love Baronda on the safe re-opening of schools last October 5 at Iloilo City Hall. Councilor Baronda is the standing chair of the Committee on Education of the city council.
BTS Network Panay submitted a petition to the councilor’s office that included the 10 demands of the alliance, which the councilor affirmed to support.
During said dialogue, Sir Francisco Golez, a teacher and former president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Union in the region, revealed that parents cannot afford to buy gadgets for their children and to purchase load daily to access the internet. He added that the situation is also difficult for the teachers and there are even times when the cost of printing of the modules comes from their own personal pockets.
Hershey Sumpay, the current University Student Council Chairperson of West Visayas State University, also expressed her sentiments as a student. According to Sumpay, the quality of education during face-to-face classes really changed and differ from online learning. She added that the people have the right to education and services and healthcare, therefore these must be ensured by the government at the same time.
The Philippines and Venezuela are the only remaining countries in the world that have not yet opened schools.
Baronda promised that she would bring the campaign of the BTS Network to the local council and she asked for additional data so that she can defend the alliance’s demands to the best of her ability.
The Back-to-School Network believes that this is a positive step towards the safe re-opening of schools in the midst of the worsening health crisis that the Duterte government failed to address.
The BTS Network is an alliance of students and faculty, and of various organizations that carry the people’s interests in education, health, and the economy./PT