April 15, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) emphasized that recent developments on the public health crisis will not hamper its ongoing projects and plans to support learners and teachers in basic education.

During the Laging Handa press briefing on Tuesday, Education Chief Leonor Magtolis Briones said that DepEd will continue to implement appropriate policies and actions for the safety and welfare of its stakeholders.

“Multiple levels ang plano natin, nagpaplano tayo kung tatagal ang COVID; nagpaplano tayo kung makontrol na ang COVID. Iba’t ibang level ang pagpaplano natin. We plan for every possibility. Ito lahat ay pinaghahandaan dahil nakikita na natin na hindi natin maprepredict ang mangyayari, maraming variables,” Sec. Briones said.

To reinforce these plans, the Department has been conducting virtual visits and press conferences in different regions to engage and consult its students, educators, and local stakeholders.

So far, Secretary Briones and the Central Office team have finished their virtual briefing to Region I (Ilocos Region), II (Cagayan Valley), III (Central Luzon), VII (Central Visayas), and XII (SOCCSKSARGEN). DepEd-Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula) is scheduled next week.

In addition, the education chief cited that regardless of the situation, DepEd is prioritizing support for learners in remote areas to ensure their access to virtual learning and to prepare them for the eventual shift to digital education.

“Inuna namin yung mga lugar na tinatawag nating Last Mile Schools. So we started distributing gadgets already in anticipation of an eventual shift or higher level of dependency on technology,” Secretary Briones said.

Recently, some DepEd officials visited Negros Oriental to give out 3,124 digital devices donated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to student and teacher beneficiaries as part of the agency’s Last Miles Schools program.

“Nakakatuwa ang Bureau of Customs nagdonate sila ng dalawang sets yun ng more than 5000 yung set ng gadgets, computers, laptops, tablets. Ang [Embassy of] China nag-donate din,” added Briones.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio underscored academic ease measures to further assist learners to adjust to the distance learning setup.

“Ang kailangan natin ngayon ay mas maging considerate tayo sa sitwasyon ng bawat bata,” Usec. San Antonio said.

The Department is also looking to beef up its blended learning initiatives with the help of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other ICT companies.