Students launch #PisoParasaLaptop, other fundraising initiatives to buy laptops for online classes

August 4, 2020 - 7:07 PM
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Image by Sasin Tipchai via Pixabay

Fundraising initiatives for laptops and other devices for distance learning circulated online amid the looming opening of classes this month.

The Department of Education previously announced that the opening of classes for the school year 2020 to 2021 is on August 24, amid the widespread safety and financial concerns caused by the worsening COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they would follow an online blended approach which include learning through radio, television, online platforms and modules.

#PisoParaSaLaptop

Just a few weeks before classes started, some Filipino students from elementary to tertiary schools sought for donations on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag #PisoParaSaLaptop.

The funds coursed through digital wallet apps or other online banking platforms will be used to purchase secondhand laptops for their online classes.

Some accounts were only created for the purpose of raising funds for their device while others also sought financial and medical support for their sick relatives.

Other hashtags used for these individual fundraising initiatives are #PisoParaSaOnlineClass and #PisoParasaTuition.

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Other means to fund laptop needs

While these students took to social media to seek for monetary donations, a college student was recently featured in GMA’s magazine program “Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho” for reportedly selling intimate photos and videos of him on Twitter so that he can buy a laptop for his education.

This feature titled “Ang Pangarap kong Laptop” then caused online stir with some online users condemning the lack of provisions from the national government.

Others claimed that this is also a practice in other social networking sites.

Meanwhile, other students turned to online selling to finance their laptops.

Other donation drives

To help address the students’ financial woes and lack of gadgets, some government officials, institutions, organizations and personalities also launched donation drives.

Vice President Leni Robredo with the help of veteran journalist Ed Lingao gathered donated gadgets to be given away via Lingao’s “The Laptop Project.”

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Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto also previously raised funds to buy laptops for students within his jurisdiction.

In the past months, Heart Evangelista also gave away tablets to deserving students through her social accounts.

The University of the Philippines, meanwhile, also sought donations on Facebook for its scholars under the hashtag #KaagapayUP.

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Aside from gadgets, initiatives to gather ream of bond paper and printer ink for the modules of students were also launched under the “Bond paper mo, module ko” or “Bond paper/ink mo, module ko” project.

Academic freeze

DepEd implemented the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan for blended learning and distance learning as the alternative learning method to help prevent viral transmissions among students and teachers.

Since the start of the lockdown last March, various youth and student organizations across the country had been calling for the suspension of online classes, tuition refunds and recently, an “academic freeze”” until mass testing is effectively carried out.

No promises to fund blended learning

In nearly all his national addresses, President Rodrigo Duterte had been telling the public that the government doesn’t have money for COVID-19 response, including provisions for the BEL-CP.

During a briefing last June 15, Duterte said that he will still look for money to purchase radios priced at P300 for students in far-flung provinces.

Such a pronouncement, however, contradicted the Department of Budget and Management’s budget tracker for COVID-19 provided by the now-expired Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

As of June 30, two allocations were released to the DepEd—P8,134,411,000.00 and P2,776,709,000.00—to be used “to cover funding requirements for the implementation of the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan.”

Last July, the DepEd also planned to tap the local government’s special education fund (SEF) for its learning continuity program.

During the Fifth State of the Nation Address, Duterte announced that he will not allow the “traditional face-to-face” educational approach until a vaccine for COVID-19 is made available.

“Until the COVID-19 vaccine is available, I will not allow the traditional face-to-face teaching or learning unless [all] risks of exposure to sickness are eliminated. I cannot and will not put to risk the health and lives of our students and teachers,” Duterte said.

However, prior to this, on July 21, he approved limited face-to-face classes in areas considered low-risk of COVID-19 transmissions.

Briones said that these on-site settings would still be limited and would strictly comply with the minimum health protocols.

Last week, Duterte also said he was considering allowing the opening of schools within the last quarter of the year.

In view of this, latest reports said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease is expected to decide on the opening of schools during its next meeting.