Pacquiao to push for 'one student, one gadget' program if elected president

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — Senator Manny Pacquiao vowed to make sure all Filipino students will have access to online learning if he wins the presidency in the May 9 elections.

Through the "one student, one gadget" program, Pacquiao promised to provide "equal opportunities," particularly to "poor students who can hardly keep up with the demands of the new normal in the country's educational system."

"We will provide every student their own device for their online classes," the senator said in a statement sent to the media on Friday. "If possible, we will also look into providing free internet connectivity to marginalized communities."

Pacquiao added that education officials should prepare for the possibility of prolonged limited face-to-face classes, as he called on the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to draw long-term plans for online and modular learning.

"Alam na alam ko ang pinagdadaanan ng mga mahihirap nating kabataan na gustong mag-aral, pero wala silang magawa dahil sa kahirapan. Diyan ako galing, kaya gagawan ko talaga ng paraan para hindi nila maranasan ang aking mga pinagdaaanan," he said.

[Translation: I know how hard it is for students who want to pursue their studies but are unable to due to poverty. I experienced that myself, which is why I will make sure they won't go through the same.]

Pacquiao said funds for the program may come from government savings "from corruption," which he estimated at ₱700 billion to ₱1 trillion per year. Money may also be sourced from bureaucracy, and intelligence and confidential funds, he added.

As for the internet system, Pacquiao said he will push for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) with telecommunication companies.