PASIG CITY – The policy of the Department of Education (DepEd) with regard to disasters is the immediate resumption of classes as soon as it is safe and there are learning spaces available. But tents and teachers are not the only things needed to resume normal schooling.
In a turnover ceremony last 29th of November, 2013 (Friday) the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) donated 40 Samsung tablets to DepEd. The delegation was headed by Her Excellency Ambassador Hatice Pinar Isik, the foremost official of the Turkish Mission to the Philippines. This effort was made to help the Department, as well as regional and division offices in recovering what was left of the documents in the schools ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda.
“Restoring and preserving records is just as important as providing education. The most affected group here are graduating students,” explained Assistant Secretary Reynaldo D. Laguda, emphasizing on the urgency needed to restore as much school records as possible.
With these 40 tablets on hand, the department would be able to ensure the proper documentation of school records which were soaked, soiled, or totally destroyed. This project also ensures the longevity of school documents from being further damaged by such calamities.
The said effort has four major phases to ensure an organized filing of the salvaged documents. It starts with the deployment of division-assigned personnel for the capturing of documents, with the use of the tablets, in the affected schools. The data would then be off-loaded to the home divisions for proper reviewing and renaming of the files. Once the files have been recorded and accounted for, they will be distributed back to the individual schools for their own record keeping. Once the system is in place, it will then be replicated for the schools and other division offices as disaster risk mitigating initiative.
“By next week, we will be bringing these (tablets) to Leyte and Samar,” Laguda adds. “This assistance from TIKA would surely help speed up the process in bringing back normalcy to the students’ school calendar and would eventually sustain our schools in the prevention of the same problem in file storage for similar disasters in the future.”
There are many ways of supporting a worthy cause. Some donate anonymously. Others do it with the requisite publicity. Others give their support through the company as part of their corporate social responsibility.But there are some who prefer to go at it alone through their own foundation. This is the story of Mr. Katsutoshi Shimizu, a Japanese national who wants to give back to the Philippines after years of success of doing business here. He chose education as his advocacy.
Mr. Katsutoshi Shimizu, 72, first visited the Philippines in 1969 and established Shimizu & Co., Ltd. (Japan) three years later. His main line of business is bringing to the Philippines used assorted ships/parts and Japanese technology. “I have visited the Philippines for more than 500 times, therefore I can call the Philippines as my second home country,” quipped Shimizu.
Shimizu first exported used ships to the Philippines in December 1968. By 2010, he had already brought in 1,000 ships to the country. Shimizu is also credited for having introduced and installed Japanese technology in Baguio City the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) -- an environmental friendly machine converting solid wastes to fertilizer.
Shimizu believes that the best way to pay back Philippine society is to adopt three schools in Talisay and Calatagan, Batangas. In a memorandum of agreement signed Thursday, Shimizu has committed to construct 11 classrooms initially and equip them with a computer unit each, a LCD television, classroom equipment including tables, chairs and chalkboards.“I believe that education is the only key to a country’s success. So, I started helping NGOs and my staff through scholarships more than 10 years ago. But I learned that DepEd needs more than 100,000 classrooms and I decided to help by building some and donating them to the Philippine Government.”
The project beneficiaries are the Venancio Trinidad Memorial Elementary School in Talisay, Batangas, Carreton Elementary School and Carlosa Elementary School in Calatagan. The estimated construction cost of the school buildings is P7.4 million.Shimizu has committed to construct 3 to 5 school buildings within 2011 and 20 to 30 school buildings in the next 3 years. “I believe building schools is an effective way of fostering friendship since many Filipinos will benefit from this. That way, I help promote closer relationship between our two countries.” Shimizu added.
He established the RK Shimizu (Nagasaki) Foundation Inc. on March 2011, to achieve these objectives. “The support of my Foundation will continue even after I retire as my son will succeed me in this undertaking,” Shimizu shared.And while the mention of Nagasaki conjures an image of atomic bombs being dropped from the sky, this time, Nagasaki comes again to national consciousness as the source of sports equipment, school uniforms, bags and starter school supplies. From the children of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan to young learners of the Philippine public school system – a neat lesson in friendship and international understanding at such an early age.
Shimizu has one request, though. He wants to impart to the school children of his adopted schools some facets of the Japanese culture and arts through special events that may be organized from time to time. Filipinos and Japanese share the same Asian heritage such as deep sense of family, respect for elders and thirst for education.
“I feel this initiative of Mr. Shimizu is a very good model of how our two countries can forge a partnership along our Filipino “bayanihan” spirit – our homegrown version of working together,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
Part of the donation is a Japanese garden which the donor specifically requested to be maintained by the school. “This will open the eyes of our children on other cultures and how its own beauty can, in turn, enhance ours,” Luistro added.
The donations of Shimizu is lodged under DepEd’s Adopt-A-School program which invites the private sector to donate to public schools and help raise the standard of education. In turn, donors receive tax incentive as authorized by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
For Shimizu, the most beautiful word in their language is “Arigato”. “And I understand in your language it is “Salamat Po” and I believe that by saying these words a respect is being conveyed from each other. So my wish is for both of us to continue saying “Arigato” and “Salamat Po,” he said.
The Department of Education’s Brigada Eskwela or National Schools Maintenance Week is getting the support of two international donor organizations which pledged to help spruce up public schools in time for the opening of classes on June 6, 2011.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have signified their participation to this year’s Brigada Eskwela by adopting public schools for repair and repainting.
“We expect more pledges of participation from the private sector and hopefully international agencies as the Brigada -- slated from May 23 to 28 -- draws nearer, “ said Luistro.
Brigada Eskwela is an annual schools clean up and repair activity spearheaded by Deped and participated in by NGOs, parents, students, teachers, the business sector, civic organizations, government and private sector employees.
It enjoins participants to donate construction and cleaning materials or serve as volunteers to prepare the schools two weeks before the opening of classes. It does not accept cash donations.
Last year, Brigada generated an equivalent amount of over P1.7 billion from donations in kind and manhours spent in school repairs which would have otherwise been taken from the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of public schools.
When Brigada was first launched in 2003, only 31% of all elementary and secondary public schools participated but because of overwhelming response from the public and the bayanihan spirit that it engendered, it was made an institutional annual event in 2008. Since then, Brigada is 100% participated in by all public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
Luistro said AusAid has committed to adopt schools for clean up and repair in Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao while USAID chose three schools it will help repair and repaint.
Luistro explained that Brigada stirs up a sense of community among the participants, especially among the students, as they work side by side with other education stakeholders towards a common cause.
“ We all want to make the schools clean and ready for the opening of schools so that by June 6, our students can buckle down to their regular school work,” he elaborated.
Brigada Eskwela will kick-off on May 23 with a motorcade starting from the DepED Central Office in Pasig going to Bago-Bantay Elementary School in Quezon City, where a ceremonial program will be held.
Aside from AusAid and USAID, other participating agencies include Ayala Foundation Inc., Coca-Cola Foundation Inc.,GMA Kapuso Foundation Inc., IBM Phils., Intel Technology Phils., JVR Foundation, Microsoft Phils,Nutri-Asia Inc. and SouthEast Asia Food Inc. Philippine Business For Social Progress, ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.,Smart Communication, Inc. San Miguel Corp., Philamlife and Unionbank, Rebisco Foundation, Standard Chartered Bank, FFCCCII, Fit for School, Hands on Manila Foundation and Autovention Corp, Crown Worlwide Movers,Inc. Mannasoft tech Corporation, Networkers and Entrepreneurs Dev’t Cooperative and Wilkins Builder.
Brigada Eskwela won an Anvil Award in 2010, the only government line agency to receive the coveted public relations award.
Recognizing the series of disasters that hit some parts of the world, the Department of Education Central Office through an office order, encouraged all its employees to internalize and comply with the Ten Action Points towards preparedness and safety.
Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francisco Varela said that knowledge on these action points will save lives and prevent further damages and casualties. “Knowledge is the key to all these. We should know every single step before, during, and after a calamity. We hope that our field offices, including the schools will also do measures like this so that we do not only save our lives but we can also save the millions of children entrusted under our care.”
These include the wearing of the prescribed uniform and identification cards while in the DepEd compound; the recordkeeping for time in and time out of DepEd employees synchronized with the Daily Time Record (DTR); and the usage of only approved devices and equipment in the workplace.
The order also mentioned that the employees should practice the habit of proper maintenance and safekeeping of office equipment, machines, and the necessary tools; to make it a habit to save files in the computer every ten minutes; to report to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee any hazardous condition that may cause death, illness, or physical harm or injury to the employees in the workplace; and to know where to get help during emergency situations.
Moreover, all are expected to comply with all the safeguards and safety regulations for the employees’ protection and that of his/her co-workers; to familiarize one’s self with the work environment, location of exits or evacuation routes, and to participate and cooperate in drills and exercises and be cautious of others’ welfare by practicing the principles of the buddy system.
In order to concretize this initiative, the DepEd conducted a fire and earthquake drill to create an atmosphere of preparedness and safety among DepEd employees.
Over a thousand employees of the department stopped the operations of their respective offices on Monday, May 16, and ran outside buildings upon hearing the fire alarm. Minutes later, mock injuries and casualties were immediately brought to the first aid station located at DepEd open grounds. Some of the employees stayed at the evacuation site, while a fire truck and an ambulance arrived few minutes later.
Varela said that the conduct of the fire and earthquake drill is important since this will teach DepEd employees the proper knowledge on what to do when these calamities occur.
“The activity is very timely. Considering the damage and adverse impact of disasters to lives and properties, the department deemed it appropriate to establish a mindset of preparedness and safety to all employees in dealing with both natural and man-made hazards,” Varela added.
Shortly after the buildings were “cleared,” fire rescuers conducted a fire smothering demonstration.
Participants were taught on how to hold and use the fire extinguishers and were made to try to extinguish the fire in the right manner.
This initiative was organized by the OSH Committee. Its task is to ensure the safety of all DepEd officials and employees through the development of accident prevention programs and identification of all hazards in each workplace.
Mentally challenged and visually impaired students under the Department of Education (DepEd) Special Education (SPED) Program from six regions competed in special games organized for them in the 2011 Palarong Pambansa held in Dapitan City.
"Our special children gain confidence in their capabilities every time they join the Palaro," shares Marivic Tolitol, Chair of the Special Services Committee in charge of the special games. "Special children are included under our principle of 'no child left behind.'"
Four venues were selected for the special games. Bocce (pronounced bo-che) for the mentally challenged (MC) was held at the Dapitan plaza while goal ball for both MC and visually impaired (VI) was played in Talisay Elementary School. Athletics and swimming competitions were held at the new facilities of the Jose Rizal Memorial State University (JRMSU) in Dapitan City.
There are 6 events for athletics. The 100-, 200-, and 400-meter runs, relay, shot put and long jump.
On the other hand, swimming opened events for freestyle, back stroke, and breast stroke at the JRMSU pool. The 50-meter swim is the only other sport aside from Bocce that is limited to MC players. The other two games, goal ball and athletics, have both MC and VI competitors.
The overall champion for the special games is Region 1 with Regions 10 and 4-A as second and third place respectively. The three other regions that paticipated are Regions 4-B, 6 and CARAGA.
"We hope to have all regions send participants to the special games in the future," Tolitol adds.
Those involved in the special games hope to have at least 50 delegates per region totalling about 800 for all 17 regions next year.
Players were categorized as 15 and younger and 16 and older for MCs and elementary and high school for VIs. MCs were classified as such since the biological age is the basis for their strength while the mental age of the child is the basis for their education.
"Three of the Bocce players from Region 6 will paricipate in the Special Olympic Games that will be held in Athens, Greece sometime middle of this year upon the invitation of PHILSPADA," Tolitol said as the next steps for these special athletes. "If all regions are able to send participants to the special games, we plan to request for the medals won to be included in the overall points of their regions."
Coaches of the athletes are SPED teachers who underwent training for special games. Players also joined division and regional meets to be included in the national sporting event.
PHILSPADA (Philippine Sports for the Differently Abled) handles sporting activities for differently-abled Filipinos.
In response to the challenge posed by Education Secretary Armin Luistro, the
150 Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) trainees of the
Department of Education recently organized an exhibit showcasing ideal
The exhibit is in preparation for the implementation of universal
kindergarten this S.Y. 2011-2012.
Universal kindergarten is the first phase of DepEd’s education reform
agenda, K to 12. The program requires all five-year olds to go through
kindergarten in public schools.
“Since the goal of expanding the coverage of preschool education is to
better prepare our young learners, we believe that part of this preparation
should be to ensure that the learning process inside the classroom will be
fun for the young learners. Classroom set-up should be able to attract kids
to learn and value education given their young age,” said Luistro.
Five groups constructed miniature classrooms, reflecting child-friendly
environment filled with storybooks, puzzles, and toys. Designs were mainly
based on concepts such as fairytales and fables.
Asked on how the exhibit was managed despite conflicting office schedules,
SPES trainee Marielle Pigtain said, “Cooperation among group members is
extremely important. We also make it a point that every member will be
allowed by their respective offices to spend their vacant hours decorating
the “classroom”. Our group also devised “shifting” hours so that all group
members will be able to attend to this special assignment without neglecting
our office duties.”
Meanwhile, zero-based budgeting scheme also allowed the students to tap
their creativity and resourcefulness. “Karamihan sa mga materials na ginamit
sa aming grupo ay recycled, tulad ng karton at mga used colored papers. May
mga member rin na nagdala ng decorations na hindi na nila ginagamit sa
bahay,” shared SPES trainee Manuela Balaguer.
The SPES’ classroom exhibit assignment is the department’s way of
encouraging the public, including the central office employees and the
private sector, to actively involve themselves in the fulfillment of the
government’s goal of providing every Filipino a brighter future through
On top of this exhibit, Luistro headed a donation drive that aims to collect
educational toys, books and materials which the incoming kindergarten pupils
will use as part of their learning and interaction.
“This project highlights two things. One, shortage has been the major
problem of Philippine education, not because the Philippines is a poor
country. It’s because we have not taken seriously the challenge to share and
be part of the solution to the problems of public basic education. Two, this
is a reality check for all of us to take on that challenge and realize the
spirit of sharing and generosity because all of us are stakeholders of
education,” furthered Luistro.
The same message SPES trainee Enzo Vidal would want to share to those who
would get the chance to see their outputs. He narrated that he sees the
value of sharing and giving for the cause of education in this exhibit
assignment. “This reminds us that education is a shared responsibility of
everyone. Even we, students and out-of-school youths, in our own little
ways, could do something for the betterment of our preschool education.”
DepEd enjoins the public, including kids, to participate in this drive and
allow kindergarten entrants in public schools to experience the quality and
appropriate learning they deserve.
The Department of Education has shown continuous improvements in liquidating cash advances as part of its thrust for an efficient financial housekeeping and transparent governance.
DepEd’s financial report showed that of the P1.6 billion unliquidated advances noted by the Office of the Ombudsman last year, it has already liquidated some P1.4 billion or 88 percent liquidation efficiency as of March 31, 2011.
“When the Ombudsman first called DepEd’s attention in July 2010 on unliquidated cash advances we acted with dispatch to comply with the directive because good financial housekeeping is part of good governance,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
By December 2010, DepEd’s liquidation compliance was recorded at 81 percent having liquidated some P1.3 billion by year-end.
DepEd’s liquidation of cash advances takes some time because it only has a handful of accountants who must diligently review each liquidation report.
“With the size and coverage of the department, spending for our programmed projects and activities will consequently be higher and takes a little longer to liquidate than those of other agencies,” Luistro explained.
Cash advances made by disbursing officers are used by DepEd for special payroll services specifically for teachers and personnel in areas not served by electronic banking. Advances are also drawn for expenses during trainings, seminars or workshops. These expenses include purchase of supplies or transportation expenses.
“We want to assure the public that the department is a responsible steward of government money and that the people’s taxes are spent very prudently,” said Luistro.
A recent survey by Pulse Asia revealed that DepEd is perceived as one of the least corrupt government agencies, maintaining its image for two years in a row, as reforms for good governance continue to be implemented.
“DepEd is trying its mighty best to walk the talk in transparency and financial management efficiency because it wants to lead by example to the public and to over 20 million elementary and high school students under its care,” Luistro added.
The Department of Education (DepEd) expressed its support to the Free Birth Registration project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as it cites the importance of proper birth documentation in a child’s schooling.
“This project is very timely especially in preparation for the forthcoming enrolment of students in our public schools. Birth certificate is a very important document in securing student’s identity,” said DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro.
Luistro also emphasized that this effort supports the Education For All (EFA) goal that the country pledged to meet by 2015. The Free Birth Registration project advocates the protection of every child’s basic rights, more particularly in keeping children in school. Thus, he encouraged parents to grab the opportunity of registering their children for free.
This joint project is initiated to cover the registration of Indigenous Peoples (IP), children of indigent parents, children who are enrolled and will be enrolled in public schools and all beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program who have no birth certificates yet.
This initiative also responds to the difficulty in complying with the basic documentary requirements such as birth certificates of children in tribal communities.
Alongside with DepEd and DSWD, the Free Birth Registration project under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, is in collaboration with the National Statistics Office (NSO) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Registration and processing fees of birth certificates will be shouldered by government funds for the month-long registration from May 3-31, 2011 in the Local Civil Registrar’s Office of every municipality.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro enjoins the public, especially kids, to show their love for other children by donating toys and other educational materials which could be used by public school children who will step into school for the first time as they enter kindergaten when school opens in June.
Universal kindergarten is the first phase of DepEd’s education reform agenda, K to 12. The program requires all five-year olds to go through kindergarten in public schools to better prepare them when they enter Grade 1.
Luistro is leading a donation drive that aims to collect educational toys, books and materials for the 1.9 million kindergarten students that are expected to enroll in the 38,000 schools and day care centers nationwide.
“The toy drive is a story of giving. This is a project that will allow every Filipino to support education. If every Filipino is able to do something, even a small thing like giving up an old toy, it's a message that's worth repeating and expanding nationwide,” the education chief said.
Luistro explained that the real message of the donation drive is to instill the value of generosity to children. “This is about parting away with something that is most special and personal to you and allowing other kids to experience the same joy with the toy you will give,” added Luistro.
The universal kindergarten program is the government’s way of democratizing access to education especially for children whose parents have limited means to afford pre-school.
Meanwhile, during the “meet and greet” session of Luistro with some 150 beneficiaries of the DOLE-initiated Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), he encouraged the students to be advocates of the campaign.
Luistro told them to devise a scheme so they can take part in collecting toy and book donations within their neighborhood, families, peers, classmates, and friends.
“If all of us pitch in for this donation drive, we could transform a typical kindergarten classroom into a laboratory that can better prepare our young learners to the real world of formal schooling and provide them greater chances to complete their education,” furthered Luistro.
Employees from different Department of Education Central offices took part in the orientation program on the features of K+12 basic education reform program where key issues were raised on matters that affect them as employees and as parents.
A total of 93 employees from different DepEd Central offices took part in the morning session of the orientation while 78 were present in the afternoon. Employees from various DepEd offices were divided into two sessions so as not to disrupt the operation of their respective offices.
The K to 12 program involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school. The program will be designed to adjust and meet the fast-changing demands of society by providing graduates with essential skills for the world of work, college education or for the global arena.
“We need to add two more years to our basic education curriculum so as to uplift the country’s standard of education. The program will help the country to cope up with the fast pace of globalization,” said Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Alberto Muyot.
An audio-visual presentation about the K to 12 program kicked off the orientation. This was followed by an open forum where employees asked questions and offered suggestions about the program implementation.
Some of the issues raised were: (1) will there be a new curriculum for elementary and high school students (2) how to address lack of classrooms and instructional materials, and (3) doubts on the unification of DepEd, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for a continuous program.
Usec. Muyot, Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Yolanda Quijano, Undersecretary for Regional Operations Lino Rivera, and Assistant Secretary for Planning and Development Jesus Lorenzo Mateo served as resource speakers. They provided further information and also answered questions from the participants.
The 12-year education cycle is part of the 10-point Education Agenda of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. The orientation was conducted in line with the implementation of the universal kindergarten program starting this school year which is an essential part of K to 12.