Gatchalian calls for stricter monitoring in schools after reports of illegal drug alternatives

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 2, 2019   •   476

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture Senator Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian has called for stricter monitoring in schools after reports of students allegedly using illegal drug alternatives such as “magic mushroom”.

In a statement, Gatchalian said that it is alarming to hear reports about high school students using psychedelic mushrooms or ‘magic mushrooms’ commonly found in rural areas as a form of illegal drugs substitute.

Department of Education (Deped) Secretary Leonor Briones said that several high school students were hospitalized after using the said illegal drug substitute.

Gatchalian also said that this incident needs to be investigated further in order to come up with a solution for the safety of the students in the country.

“Marami rin tayong dapat malaman. Gaano na karami ang naiulat na ganitong uri ng insidente? Paano natuklasan ito ng mga mag-aaral? Saan ito laganap? At ano-ano ang naging mga epekto nito sa ating mag-aaral? (We also have a lot to be learned. How many similar incidents were reported? How did students discover it [magic mushrooms]? Where is it rampant? What are its effects on our students?), ” he said.—AAC

DepEd open to using schools as quarantine facilities

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 28, 2020

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said it is open to the proposal of using schools as quarantine facilities amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

DepEd is willing to cooperate with the Department of Health (DOH) in utilizing schools as COVID-19 quarantine areas for patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM).

However, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said that after being used for the said purpose, proper decontamination should be done to ensure that the schools are already safe for students.

“Lalagyan din po natin ng terms and conditions na after po magamit ay atin namang sisiguraduhin na safe and secured na magamit ulit bilang pag-aaral (We will impose terms and conditions so that we can assure that [the classrooms] are safe and secured for use again),” she said.

The Department also requested local government units (LGUs) to find other potential quarantine facilities before deciding to use schools.

“Mayroon lang po tayong terms and conditions na kailangan sundin. Una po dapat ang ating local government ay makipag-konsulta at makipag-coordinate sa ating mga regional directors para mapatunayan na wala nang ibang lugar na pwede pong magamit (We have terms and conditions to follow. First, our local government should consult and coordinate with our regional directors to prove that there are no other places available for use),” Sevilla said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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Deped school-based personnel to receive PBB for 2018

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 25, 2020

The Department of Education (Deped) has announced that school-based personnel in the department are now eligible to receive the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has granted Deped’s request for school-based personnel to receive PBB for 2018.

“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,” she said.

In a statement, Deped said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has decided to grant the 2018 PBB for teaching and non-teaching school-based personnel in all elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

The PBB is still subject to the submission of DepEd’s school level performance rating and ranking. 

Meawhile, the Education Department will still 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 said. — AAC

PH Education chief tests negative for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 17, 2020

Education Secretary Leonor Briones

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones has tested negative for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DepEd announced this in a statement released to the media on Tuesday.

“Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones tested negative for COVID-19 as results came back on Monday,” it said.

DepEd said Briones placed herself under self-quarantine as a precaution against COVID-19.

Other DepEd officials also underwent isolation after having contact with an individual, who later tested positive for the virus, during a meeting at the Central Office on February 28.

The said officials have shown no symptoms during the 14-day quarantine period.

Apart from Briones, other Cabinet members who have also tested negative for the virus were Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

President Rodrigo Duterte also tested negative for the virus.

The Philippines has so far 187 confirmed cases with 12 deaths.

The country is currently under a state of public health emergency due to the coronavirus.

The entire Luzon region has also been placed under an enhanced community quarantine which implements strict home quarantine, suspension of transportation, regulation of provision for food and essential services and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.

Areas outside Luzon have also imposed measures to combat the virus.

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