Celebrities and parents, lauded House Bill No. 10405, also known as the “One Tablet, One Student Act of 2021,” recently filed by three-term Senator Loren Legarda.

Note that it seeks to provide each student in public elementary, secondary, state universities and colleges (SUCs), a tablet as a learning tool.

The bill is seen as a definite boost in the capabilities of students to learn in the new normal setting.

Columnist, real-estate broker and proud owner of artisanal Kamuning Bakery Wilson Lee Flores said: “This bill is a good idea to help equalize educational opportunities for public school students all over the Philippines who have suffered disadvantages of lack of tech gadgets.”

He recommended that the next steps will be “lowering costs and expanding nationwide, better faster internet services.”

In the same vein, actor-director Cesar Montano said, “that bill, when enacted into law, will lessen the great disadvantage poor people experience in the school setting. It will provide equal opportunities to learn and excel. Sana ang susunod naman, malakas at matatag na internet sa buong bansa natin.”

Singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid considers this an excellent news.

He said, “That would help all students so much.”

Loren Legarda with students

Comedy Queen Ai-Ai Delas Alas, who herself had been approached so many times by students and parents asking for tablet donation, said of the proposed bill, “Sana totoong ma-provide sa lahat, lalo na yung mga mahihirap. Sa Pasig may libreng tablet, pero hindi lahat nabibigyan kaya maraming nanghihingi sa akin sa email.”

Delas Alas hasn’t lost all hope that our learning system could soon go back to face-to-face setting.

She related, “Iba pa rin ang physical na pag-aaral, kasi minsan yung bata, lalo na yung mga teenagers, naglalaro lang kasi hindi masyado maka-focus pag nasa computer.”

Metro Pacific Group’s Finance and Sustainability Chief and a doting mother Chaye Cabal-Revilla speaks from the heart as a parent.

“This is okay with me as a learning tool but it should have restrictions with respect to time and access. A tablet can be a double-edged sword – it can be a very useful learning tool when used properly given the right time and materials and access to research items. But it can also be a distraction if given without limits,” she said, adding in jest, “Baka dapat sa DepEd portal lang siya pwede, wala sa Youtube.”

Legarda’s bill also provides that students who already have their own personal learning gadgets shall be given educational assistance in the form of an internet allowance to cover the cost of connectivity.

Legarda, who, as former Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, introduced numerous interventions in the budget allocation of the education sector, urged both Houses of Congress, now working on the proposed 2022 national budget, to consider allocating funds for the said program. She believes that this will greatly help public schools students adapt to the online mode of learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As Senate Finance Chair and sponsor of previous General Appropriations Acts, Legarda introduced budget amendments to fund the free college education, free tuition for medical students in SUCs, and free wifi in all SUCs, among many others.

Based on DepEd data, there are 27 million elementary and high school students enrolled in the current academic year. On the other hand, there are approximately 1.6 million enrolled in SUCs and local universities and Colleges (LUCs), based on the data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). This does not even include the teachers themselves who are likewise in need of such devices.

“While the proposed allocation is staggering, making sure that our students each have access to resources that would help them cope with changes in our educational system is needed for us to ensure that, despite the restrictions in the traditional modalities of classes, our students will still receive the kind of quality education that they deserve,” Legarda said.

“There is no greater investment than education to help alleviate poverty and build a sustainable and progressive nation. We have to invest enough support for the education of our youth so that they can enjoy more opportunities to be eventually employed as professionals and productive members of our society,” Legarda added.



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