AFTER receiving a letter from Van Jason Arellano, an incoming freshman at Mindanao State University campus in Naawan, Misamis Oriental, asking for help in raising funds to buy a gadget to complement the online shift of his classes in the university, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go responded to Arellano’s plea and immediately sent him a tablet on August 22 to use for his schooling.
“May ipinadala akong tablet sa iyo. Sana ay makakatulong ito sa iyong pag-aaral,” Go addressed Arellano through a recorded video message.
“Alam kong isa kang matalinong estudyante at nagpupursige talaga. Magpasalamat tayo sa ating mga magulang na ginagawa ang lahat para makapag-aral at makatapos ka. Ingat lagi, Van Jason, and study well. Salamat,” the Senator added.
In Arellano’s letter addressed to the Senator and President Rodrigo Duterte dated August 20, the student explained that he is the fourth child in a brood of five in the family. His older siblings are also in college while the youngest is in high school. He added that because his father is the only one working as a construction worker and providing for the family, they could not simply afford a new gadget for him to use in college.
Arellano eventually gathered himself, mustered his courage, and used social media to ask for support. His post with the #PisoParasaLaptop, asking for a peso to come up with an amount enough for him to buy a laptop or tablet, went viral. Many Filipinos responded to his campaign and sent him assistance. He also sent a letter to Go’s Facebook page seeking aid.
“Sa kabila ng mahirap na buhay at hinaharap na pandemya, mayroon pa rin tayong mga kababayan na nagsusumikap para sa kanilang kinabukasan. Katulad ni Van Jason Arellano, na gusto makapagtapos ng pag-aaral ngunit nangangailangan ng dagdag na tulong,” Go said.
“Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, naintindihan namin kung gaano kahirap ang buhay lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng krisis kaya nagdesisyon siyang i-postpone muna ang pagbubukas ng klase upang maplantsa at maayos ang mga kailangan at mabigyan ng oras ang mga estudyante, teachers, learning institutions at education authorities na makapaghanda pa lalo,” Go explained.
Aside from his tablet, Arellano’s three siblings also received their own tablets courtesy of the Senator.
The government initially slated the start of classes on August 24 but was postponed and moved to October 5. A one-page memorandum released by office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea stated that “… (P)ursuant to the instructions of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and was recommended by the DepEd, the opening of classes is deferred to 05 October 2020.”
The postponement of opening of classes covers basic education and K-12 programs under the Department of Education. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infection Diseases earlier approved the rolling opening of classes in the higher education sector. Several tertiary institutions are scheduled to open the school year this month, according to the Commission on Higher Education.
Go had earlier appealed to the Executive branch to postpone the opening of the school year to give more time for students, parents, teachers, learning institutions, education authorities and the general public to better prepare amid the threat of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“Isa ako sa sumuporta sa batas na ipinasa namin giving the authority to the President na i-postpone ang pagbubukas ng klase dahil nakikita ko talaga na ang mga magulang ay takot po sila. Sino ba namang magulang na magkasakit at nag-aalala na magkasakit ang mga anak nila?,” Go said.
“Isa lang po ‘yun sa mga suggestion na di ma-pressure ang mga estudyante. Importante po ay ‘wag kalawangin ang estudyante, makapag-aral sila at ang kanilang knowledge ay tuluy-tuloy towards another year level at makakapasa pero sana po ay huwag silang ma-pressure dahil takot silang bumagsak. Bigyan muna natin sila ng palugit o konsiderasyon para ‘wag silang ma-pressure,” the Senator added.
Go further mentioned that with the health crisis and as the Senate Chair of the Committee on Health, his main priority and concern are the lives of Filipinos, most especially the students.
“Ang importante sakin ang buhay ng bawat bata, ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino. Life lost is a life lost forever. Ibig sabihin, kapag wala nang buhay, hindi na natin maibabalik ‘yan kaya importante na unahin natin ang kapakanan at buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.