Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has assured full support to the Department of Education’s (DepEd) efforts to ensure that Filipino learners continue their schooling despite the challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Dominguez said the DepEd’s blended or hybrid learning system is the best recourse for Filipino students at this time despite the lack of adequate digital infrastructure and tools for students to fully appreciate the possibilities of remote learning.
Should DepEd suspend its hybrid learning system, Dominguez said there is no other option but to completely stop the students’ education, which would prove to be much more costly to them and their future.
The finance chief made this point in a speech during the turnover to Education Secretary Leonor Briones of 198 units of laptops and 4,840 smartphones that had been seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), in support of the DepEd’s blended learning program.
“I commend Secretary Liling Briones for the relentless effort that the DepEd has put in to keep the classes going despite all odds,” Dominguez said. “I am sure the DepEd will find the best use of the e-learning devices turned over to them today by the Customs.”
The BOC, led by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) had seized the “hot” laptops and smartphones as part of their joint anti-smuggling campaign.
While these devices may not be significant to close “the great digital gap in our society,” Dominguez said the BOC donation “signifies all government agencies’ willingness to support the continuing education of our youth during this most difficult time.”
“Be assured that the DOF and its attached agencies will always stand ready to assist the DepEd in realizing President Duterte’s goal of building a better future for our youth,” Dominguez told Briones during the turnover.
Dominguez lauded the BOC “for not letting their guard down even during these challenging times. Our customs officers have continuously modernized their processes and intensified their efforts to combat illicit trade.”
He also thanked the BOC under Guerrero’s leadership for its “unstinting support for all our efforts to fight the pandemic and keep our people safe.”
The Duterte administration chose to absorb the huge economic losses from the pandemic in effecting mobility restrictions and other mitigation measures as a way to best save lives and protect communities from the deadly coronavirus, Dominguez said.
This hard choice includes canceling physical or face-to-face classes and shifting to the blended learning approach to keep children safe, he said.