SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday reaffirmed his call to uphold the welfare and safety of frontliners in the education sector.
Making the appeal on the eve of the World Teachers' Day, Gatchalian said the country's education frontliners have been sacrificing their health to ensure learning continuity in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He pushed for the vaccination of all teachers, non-teaching staff, and other school officials, especially now that the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to begin the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in areas with minimal risk of Covid-19.
The DepEd requires teachers and non-teaching personnel participating in the pilot run to be fully vaccinated.
While the vaccination of teachers will help mitigate the risk of Covid-19 transmission in schools, Gatchalian said it is equally important to ensure that teachers could turn to the government if they got infected.
Public school teachers have Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) coverage, which they can use if they get infected with Covid-19.
"Teachers, however, still need to spend out of their pockets before receiving reimbursements from the state insurer," Gatchalian said in a statement.
He earlier proposed the creation of a PhilHealth special lane for teachers in need of Covid-19 treatment.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture also recognized the work of teachers as election frontliners.
In 2019, he filed Senate Bill 1193 to exclude from gross income and exempt from taxation the honoraria, travel allowance, and other benefits granted by the Commission on Elections to teachers and poll workers under Republic Act 10756 or the "Election Service Reform Act."
In past elections, a 5-percent tax was imposed on teachers' election honoraria and allowances.