/ 24 November 2021

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson batted for additional school facilities and teachers in Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea, after learning of the plight of learners there.

Lacson also pushed for added benefits for teachers, as the island has only one elementary school and two teachers catering to 34 students, with the students having little hope of a high school education.

“I think this is a cause for concern. After Grade 6, wala na, tapos na, wala nang kinabukasan ang bata,” he said.

He noted that the nearest place for the students to study high school is Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, which will take more than a day to reach.

Lacson proposed that the government put up a high school building or integrate the high school facilities with the existing building; and hire at least one multigrade teacher who can teach kindergarten to high school.

Also, Lacson sought the DepEd’s commitment for a Special Hardship Allowance for the two teachers in Pagasa Island, noting this can be taken from the budget for the Last Mile Schools program.

He said that since the DepEd’s circular does not allow a teacher to receive SHA for two more categories, the two teachers at Pag-asa Island are given only one hardship allowance per year —  yet they experience more than one factor of difficulty — difficulties in travel and in teaching, as well as in access to amenities.

They also fall into two categories of eligibility for SHA — located in hardship posts and multi-grade teachers.

Lacson has pushed for an “Edukasyon Plus” program to break the cycle of poverty that hounded many Filipino families.

The program aims to keep youth in school —  and give them a better chance at improving their lot.

‘Edukasyon Plus’ also provides free tuition and a monthly allowance of P5,000 for the period of internship for qualified senior high school students —  Grades 11 and 12 who enter a government internship program.