By Myrna M. Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) is urging the country’s 121 electric cooperatives to step up on their provision of electricity supply, so households in the provinces could be assured of the service while the government preps on blended learning approach that will include ‘home schooling’ set-up for students.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi declared he laid down such order “to all cooperatives through the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to ensure stable supply of power in their respective franchise areas.”
The energy chief said he wants this as a primary concern to be addressed by NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong as well as the ECs, as he noted that the department “received reports that in ongoing summer classes, several power interruptions were experienced in rural areas.”
In particular, Cusi cited that it was brought to the attention of the department that “some students from General Santos and North Cotabato were not able to join online summer classes and submit assignments on time due to power interruptions and not due to internet connectivity.”
Reliable electricity supply is considered a major anchor for the country’s alternative learning program for students while the threat of the coronavirus pandemic still persists.
And for many of the remotest areas in the country, they can generally lean on the services of the ECs so they could have access to energy – which could then power either the students’ computers or gadgets or even radio and television sets that are also being lined up as learning tools in the forthcoming school year.
“This directive is not only to help the students as they attend online classes but a sufficient and stable supply of electricity at this time is what businesses need as we revive the local economy,” Cusi stressed.
As a matter of fact, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, electrification of the country’s regional areas is one program that Cusi would still want completed – or to reach 100-percent level of energization – on or before the end of the Duterte administration.
Cusi further noted “enrollment turnout for the incoming school year is very good so we must anticipate that power demand of households are met to ensure smooth implementation of DepEd’s (Department of Education) distance learning program.”
He asserted “the impact of power interruptions on distance learning is among the concerns raised during discussions on educational strategies during the pandemic.”
It has to be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte made pronouncements that he will not let students to go back physically to the classrooms while the pandemic still lingers; hence, DepEd proposed alternative measures to carry out this year’s academic program.
Based on the education department’s memorandum, remedial as well as enrichment and advancement classes for summer 2020 started last May 11 and will end after a six-week period – and these include Saturday classes for students.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, that is targeted to commence August 24 this year unless adjustments will be enforced depending on the severity of the pandemic’s impact on public health in the coming months.