BAGUIO CITY, September 7, 2018 – With the aim to bolster partnerships and community participation in improving inclusive literacy in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) conducted the 2018 National Literacy Conference and Awards (NLCA) from September 5 to 6 at the Hotel Supreme Convention Plaza.

Spearheaded by DepEd’s Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), NLCA served as a venue where implementers of literacy programs and projects can share experiences and where best practices are recognized.

“What the Literacy Coordinating Council is doing is truly a major contribution to national development. Our country cannot develop without people who are literate, who are informed, and who know how to respond to problems of development,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in her video message for the event.

Anchored on the theme, “Inclusive Literacy through Integrative and Innovative Partnerships,” the event aspired to showcase and explore valuable practices on partnerships for inclusive literacy, successful partnership approaches for others to replicate, mechanisms for networking and linkages, and policy recommendations related to promoting collaboration for inclusive literacy, and to recognize literacy champions for the 2018 National Literacy Awards (NLA).

Honoring literacy champions
The two-day event capped off with the awarding ceremony that honored the most effective practices in literacy which help alleviate poverty, provide livelihood, address welfare needs, promote freedom, and make education facilities accessible.

Briones lauded the awardees for their invaluable contribution to inclusive literacy: “I would also like to congratulate the winners of the National Literacy Awards (NLA). You are among the heroes for education. For after all, education starts with literacy.”

LCC recognized the following winners for NLA 2018:

Outstanding Literacy Program Category
First Place – Reaching the Unreached Program
Sulads Incorporated
Region 10

Second Place – Sustainable Literacy and Livelihood Program
 Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation Inc.
Region 1

Third Place – FCF Literacy Program: Handog Aral Para sa Ikauunlad ng Buhay
FCF Minerals Corporation
Region 2

Fourth Place – Health and Housing, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Faith, and Sponsorship (HELPS)
Little Children of the Philippines Foundations Inc.
Region 7

Fifth Place – Magsaysay sa Barangay (MsB)
Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges
Region 12

Outstanding Local Government Unit: Highly Urbanized Category
First Place – Butuan City
Hon. Ronnie Vicente Lagnada

Second Place – Valenzuela City
National Capital Region
Hon. Rexion Gatchalian

Third Place – Iloilo City
Region 6
Hon. Jose Espinosa III

Outstanding Local Government Unit: Component/Independent Component City Category
First Place – Santiago City, Isabela
Region 2
Hon. Joseph Tan

Second Place – Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur
Hon. Kim Lope Asis

Third Place – Naga City
Region 5
Hon. John Bongat

Fourth Place – Panabo City
Region 11
Hon. James Gamao

Fifth Place – Dagupan City
Region 1
Hon. Belen Fernandez

Outstanding Local Government Unit: 1st – 3rd Class Municipality Category
First Place – Municipality of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur
Hon. Jenny De Asis

Second Place – Municipality of Tanay, Rizal
Region 4-A
Hon. Rex Manuel Tanjuatco

Third Place – Municipality of San Mateo, Isabela
Region 2
Hon. Crispina Agcaoili

Fourth Place – Municipality of Bacnotan, La Union
Region 1
Hon. Francisco Angelito Fontanilla

Fifth Place – Municipality of Tigbauan, Iloilo
Region 6
Hon. Suzette Alquisada

Outstanding Local Government Unit: 4th – 6th Class Municipality Category
First Place – Municipality of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte
Region 10
Hon. Rommel Arnado

Second Place – Municipality of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur
Region 9
Hon. Eugenio Salva, Jr.

Third Place – Municipality of Rizal, Laguna
Region 4-A
Hon. Antonino Aurelio

Fourth Place – Municipality of Natividad, Pangasinan
Region 1
Hon. Rodrigo Rafael

Fifth Place – Municipality of Bato, Cataduanes
Region 5
Hon. Eulogio Rodriguez

Special Awards of Excellence in Literacy
Winner – Plaridel, Bulacan
Region 3
Hon. Jocell Aimee Vistan-Casaje

National ALS Teachers Achievements Recognition (NALSTAR)
Winner – Windel Alvarez
Master Teacher I
Caramoan North District
Region 5

Initiatives and challenges
Briones also reported the latest efforts of the Department in boosting inclusive literacy such as integrating information and communication technology (ICT) in the school system; enhancing ICT literacy of learners, teachers, and school heads; and augmenting computer requirements in public schools and laptop units for mobile teachers.

“We include new developments like inclusive literacy in ICT. This is truly wonderful because it will speed things up, it will speed up the learning process, and it will enable our learners to have access to information not only in the country but also in the rest of the world,” Briones said, as she recognized that literacy has gone beyond being able to just read and write.

While the Education chief acknowledged the challenges of implementing inclusive literacy, such as population increase, dropout rate, and lack of resources, she commended the increased participation of teachers, students, the community, and partners in the effort to improve literacy for learners with exceptionalities.

Other major interventions to ensure inclusive literacy include training programs for teachers handling learners with various disabilities, enhancement trainings for school heads and supervisors, development of instructional materials for children with disabilities, and implement6ation of early interventions, transition programs, and head-start programs.

Briones expressed her gratitude to various partners who have extended their assistance to the Department: “We also have the full support of many partner agencies, local government units, NGOs, private sector, faith-based organizations, and even individuals who take the initiative in contributing to literacy because they know that mentoring a child into a state of full literacy requires resources, requires love, requires mentoring. And all of these, we endeavor to provide our learners.”

Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction and LCC Chairperson Lorna Dig Dino gave an overview of the conference and encouraged participants to connect with potential partners in implementing literacy programs and projects, and contribute to making the lives of learners better.

The two-day conference consisted of different plenary sessions, with topics such as updates on the Alternative Learning System (ALS) presented by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service and ALS G.H. Ambat, and the importance of collaboration to attain inclusive literacy discussed by Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and School Sports Tonisito Umali, Esq.

Among the more than 450 participants present during the NLCA were DepEd regional directors and assistant regional directors, regional NLA coordinators and regional ALS focal persons, schools division superintendents and assistant schools division superintendents, division supervisors of ALS and formal education, district supervisors, principals of elementary and secondary schools, education program specialist for ALS, full-time district ALS coordinators, ALS mobile teachers, local government unit (LGU) officials implementing literacy programs, barangay chairpersons actively involved in the universalization of literacy, heads and members of non-government and civil society organizations involved in literacy implementation, and heads and members of partner academic institutions.

The program of activities for the 2018 NLCA is enclosed in the DepEd Memorandum (DM) 113, s. 2018, which is available at Efforts pursuant to the DM 79, s. 2018 or the 2018 Literacy Week Celebration is available online at