The Victim’s take on the Blue Mosque issue

DepEd: Assistance for teachers, learners a priority amid COVID-19 situation

PASIG CITY, March 23, 2020 – The Department of Education (DepEd) is leaving no stone unturned in responding to the current public health emergency as Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said that recent DepEd policies and actions are done to ensure that the welfare of its learners and staff are prioritized.

“This is how things need to be done [in this current situation]. Government has to continue, education has to continue, services have to be delivered, salaries and benefits have to be paid,” Secretary Briones said in the virtual press conference on Monday.

One of the initiatives undertaken was the fast-track processing and release of the salaries of employees for March and April. This includes personnel under Contract of Service (COS) and Job Order (JO) set-up.

DepEd is also looking to provide additional provident funds to field offices to be readily available. These funds will assist them with urgent, critical and immediate responses related to COVID-19 threats and in support for affected personnel.

In addition, upon clearance from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department is set to issue the Php 6,000 clothing allowance for regular employees, and the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 for school-based personnel.

Briones also stated that DepEd is closely coordinating with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to streamline guidelines for COVID-19 response.

“We are cooperating very closely with the IATF-EID. We are responding on an hourly and daily basis to issues which arise from the ground, especially on the matter of quarantine areas,” the DepEd chief said.

With the guidance of Sec. Briones, the Department has released directives and guidelines to ensure that heightened precautions are observed in DepEd offices and schools, including the observance of social distancing measures for the remainder of the school year 2019-2020, postponement of various national and regional activities, and temporary suspension of school-related undertaking.

Meanwhile, the work arrangement in DepEd emphasizes on the protection of all DepEd personnel. This arrangement is guided by its framework on the observance of stringent social distancing, continuity of delivery of essential services and priority programs, and consistency of the actions of officials and personnel.

For learners, DepEd provided alternative learning delivery platforms in lieu of class suspension, such as DepEd Commons. Since its inception last Wednesday, March 17, a total of 446,787 teachers have joined the said online platform, gaining support and praise from teachers as well as parents.

However, Undersecretary Pascua noted that online platforms are only given as an option for those who have access to such medium.

“We acknowledge the reality of situation wherein DepEd Commons and Open Education Resources (OER) are not accessible to all teachers and learners. Many of our schools still do not have connectivity and access to Internet. But in this extraordinary situation we find ourselves in, we must walk before we run. We must start somewhere and work our way towards the ideal where all teachers and learners in the country can access such resources,” Undersecretary Pascua said.

Amidst the situation, Briones said that DepEd is also keen on continuing Sulong EduKalidad, the Department’s program to address the challenges of quality in basic education.

“We should not abandon Sulong EduKalidad. It is a very tough, challenging, and exciting task to balance our existing programs with the immediate and urgent necessities at this time,” she emphasized.

Salute to frontliners

Aside from reporting actions taken by DepEd, Sec. Briones also thanked and wished good health to those people at the frontline of confronting the public health crisis.

“On behalf of DepEd, I would like to express our admiration, our prayers, and good wishes for our heroes in this situation,” Briones said.

Briones also extended the Department’s commendation to teachers and officials, as well as people from different agencies, who helped transporting stranded delegates of the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) and National Festival of Talents (NFOT) back to their respective homes during the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Gusto kong magbigay pugay sa ating mga teachers, sa ating mga officials, who joined hands in the successful return of our learners to their homes from Cagayan and Isabela. This is an excellent example of cooperation of agencies,” she said.


School-based personnel eligible for 2018 PBB

PASIG CITY, March 23, 2020 — School-based personnel in the Department of Education (DepEd) are now eligible to receive the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.

PBB is an incentive given to government employees in accordance to their performance and contribution to the accomplishment of their agency’s overall targets and commitments.

“We are delighted that the DBM has granted our request for reconsideration on the matter of the PBB. We truly appreciate the desire to recognize the contributions of DepEd to the fulfillment of goals of the government,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

“Thank you DBM, CSC and most of all, to the DepEd staff, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the PBB will be granted,” Briones added.

The AO25 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) sets specific conditions and reviews the agency’s compliance and accomplishments within a fiscal year to determine the eligibility of the agency and its personnel to receive PBB.

The Task Force has decided to grant the 2018 PBB for teaching and non-teaching school-based personnel in all elementary and secondary schools nationwide, subject to the submission of DepEd’s school level performance rating and ranking. To date, school level performance ranking reports, which will be the basis for processing the bonus, have been submitted to the Task Force and DBM for funding.

Notwithstanding the decision of the AO25 IATF, the Department is committed to appeal for re-consideration and exhaust all possible courses of action for its non-school-based personnel to likewise receive the PBB.

“We are still appealing to the DBM and AO25TF to reconsider the grant of eligibility to all DepEd non-teaching staff too, especially that they have been contributors to the improvement of the performance indicators of the DepEd and will be the ones who will be directly exposed to extreme risk and hazards during ECQ in processing the payment of the PBB 2018 for the school-based positions,” Briones emphasized.

DepEd has been found to be non-compliant with the Transparency Seal, PhilGEPS Posting, and two other reports under General Administration and Support Services and Cross-Cutting Requirements. This has led to the decision to deny the grant of 2018 PBB of the non-school-based personnel in DepEd Central Office (CO), Regional Offices (ROs), and Schools Division Offices (SDOs).


On home quarantine, Briones still leads DepEd’s response to COVID-19

PASIG CITY, March 14, 2020 – Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones is continuing to discharge her functions as the Department of Education chief even on a voluntary self-quarantine.

Receiving messages of concern from friends, relatives and the DepEd community, Secretary Briones reiterated that she is currently on a home quarantine only for extra precautionary measure until the DepEd officials who may have been exposed are cleared.

“Wala naman akong symptoms at all. It [home quarantine] is more of precautionary dahil ako I deal with them [officials who may be exposed] every day,” Briones said in a media interview on Friday.

Briones also said she had no direct exposure from COVID-19-affected person. None of the DepEd officials present in either of the two meetings (February 28 and March 5) where one participant tested positive have shown any known symptoms. The officials during the February 28 meeting in the Central Office have shown no symptoms past the recommended 14-day quarantine period.

Since the start of her voluntary self-quarantine, Sec. Briones remains on top of the Department’s management as she gives instructions to Execom, gets situation reports and DepEd Task Force COVID-19 updates via telecommuting tools, takes media interviews, and signs urgent documents needed by DepEd.

On Wednesday, March 11, she approved DepEd Order No. 2-2020 establishing the guidelines on graduation rites in light of the public health situation; and DepEd Memo No. 39, authorizing the prudent use of regular MOOE and local funds to implement measures in preparing and responding to the COVID-19 threats, particularly for DepEd offices and schools.

The DepEd chief also gave the go-signal of the proposals of the Finance strand to fast track the processing of salaries of teaching and non-teaching personnel; to request the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for early cash release for 2nd quarter to finance critical activities, including the appeal for reconsideration of PBB 2018; and to provide additional provident funds to be made readily available for affected COVID-19 personnel.

Briones also reiterated her reminder for affected learners to not go to crowded places despite the suspension of classes.

“Tinuturuan naman natin sila na sundin ang batas, sundin ang authority, sundin ang teacher, and ngayon, dapat sundin pa rin ang payo ng mga official kasi its for their own and the community’s good,” Briones said on the same interview.

DepEd officials and personnel who may be exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness have standing instructions to coordinate with the DepEd Task Force COVID-19 for proper assessment of risk, and for guidance, through the following contact numbers: 0928-871-8053 (Smart) o 0915-205-3244 (Globe).

For other concerns, the public can also contact DepEd Public Assistance and Action Center (PAAC) through these lines: (02) 8636-1663 or 8633-1942.


Blue Mosque Cultural Center at Maharlika Village Taguig Cit former Administrator Jadjurie Arasa explained at DZMJ Online Season 25 Episode 5