LGUs planning to donate gadgets to schools should follow DepEd technical specs – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020   •   325

MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) that are planning to donate tablets and other learning gadgets to their respective public schools should comply with the minimum technical specifications set by the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Thursday.

“We all want to help our schools, especially our teachers and learners, cope and adjust with the new normal in education brought about by the pandemic but we don’t want these expensive gadgets to go to waste. We must be sure that they will be utilized,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

“Hence, we encourage our LGUs who are planning to donate ICT equipment to be guided by the technical specs given by DepEd when they make their donation,” he added.

In a recently issued memorandum circular, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año informed all LGUs of the DepEd’s minimum technical specifications.

According to the DILG Memorandum, the following are the minimum specs for laptops:

  • Processor with 1.6Ghz Based Speed, with Turbo Speed
  • Screen size of 13 inches, Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD), 1080p Anti-Glare LED-Backlit or IPS Techn010U;
  • Memory of 8 QB RAM
  • Storage of 512 GB HDD SATA
  • Connectivity of Wireless LAN 802.11 b/ g /n/ac Bluetooth

The following are the minimum specs for tablets:

  • Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor
  • A display size of 8 inches
  • Display resolution of 800 x 1280 Pixels
  • Storage of 32 GB; and
  • A 4G LTE (Optional, Preferred) Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth network

Meanwhile, the following are the minimum specs for smartphones:

  • Must have an Octa-core 2.0 GHz processor
  • A display size of 6 inches
  • A display type of IPS LCD Display
  • Display resolution of 720 x 1520 Pixels
  • Storage of 32 GB
  • Network of GSM / HSPA / LTE Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth; and
    Must have dual SIM

LGUs were also advised against purchasing Microsoft Office as DepEd will facilitate the installation of the said software given that they have a special Volume Licensing Agreement with Microsoft.

Malaya also said that DepEd can arrange an “‘Email of Eligibility” for LGU-donors from Microsoft that can be provided to manufacturers to build fresh devices with discounted Windows 10 Operating System.

“LGUs may provide ICT gadgets to schools by way of a Deed of Donation, or by common datum through a written agreement in favor of the Schools Division Office (SDO) or the public schools themselves,” he said.

 “This is for purposes of proper recording and accountability,” he added.

The DILG, meanwhile, lauded some LGUs that have allocated funds for the donation of gadgets to public schools and teachers to help them learn and work from home in this time of pandemic.

DILG, DOH launch ‘Bida ang may Disiplina’ program to promote public discipline

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) launched a program to promote public discipline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “BIDA ang may Disiplina: Solusyon sa COVID-19” is a national advocacy campaign launched in Barangay Jesus dela Peña, City of Marikina.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the campaign is a joint effort to encourage people to earnestly practice the minimum health standards set by health authorities.

“Through the said campaign, the public, down to the barangays and families, is encouraged to be self-disciplined and cooperative in abiding with the minimum health standards (e.g. B.I.D.A.), and other COVID-19 policies,” he said in a statement. “It is only through concerted and unified efforts can we win this battle.”

Año also directs LGUs to encourage citizens to exercise new normal minimum health safety standards prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). These include frequent hand washing; cough etiquette; avoiding touching one’s face; observance of at least one-meter physical distancing in public; regular disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces; isolating oneself from others if feeling unwell and seeking of care, if needed; avoiding confined and closed spaces with poor ventilation; avoiding crowded places; and avoiding close-contact settings, especially where people have close-range conversations. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Gatchalian wants probe on quality of DepEd’s lessons for distance learning

Robie de Guzman   •   August 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is pushing for a Senate inquiry on the content of lessons to be used by the Department of Education (DepEd) for its distance learning program.

Gatchalian issued the statement on Friday after DepEd drew criticisms over some of its episodes containing grammatical and typographical errors.

DepEd started its test broadcast of television episodes on state-run Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) and Solar Learning. However, photos showing a Grade 8 lesson went viral as netizens slammed what some described as “painful” errors in the lesson.

While DepEd already acknowledged the errors and vowed to make improvements on its TV broadcast content, Gatchalian stressed that quality control should not be compromised amid the rush to make learning resources available when classes open.

“We’ll probably have another hearing on the content aspect of distance learning because quality control is very important,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, reiterated that the reach of television makes it a viable tool for distance learning, especially for those who have no available internet connectivity.

Citing information from Dataxis, a global firm specializing in telecom and media business, he said 18.7 million Filipino households have television in 2019, a number that is expected to increase to 20.7 million by 2024.

The lawmaker added that since not all parents can teach their children at home because some of them have not completed schooling, teachers can guide learners through recorded lessons for television. Parents, on the other hand, can ensure that their children are focused on studying.

He noted that some local government units (LGU) have already partnered with local television stations to broadcast recorded lessons.

He cited as an example a local cable service provider in Luna, Isabela which provided two channels for the province’s ‘TV-Eskwela’. One channel will be used for elementary while the other will be for high school learners.

Isabela City in Basilan has also forged a partnership with a local cable service provider to put up ‘TELEdukasyon’.

Under the partnership, the P1,500 cable installation fee is waived and parents will just have to pay for the P350 subscription fee monthly, which gives them access to three channels dedicated to distance learning.

“Sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon ngayong panahon ng krisis, hindi lang ang pag-abot sa ating mga mag-aaral ang dapat nating pinag-uusapan. Mahalagang tutukan natin kung paano masisigurong dekalidad ang edukasyon na natatanggap nila kahit na sila ay nasa mga tahanan nila,” Gatchalian said.

DILG calls on Congress to allocate funds for hiring of 50k contact tracers

Robie de Guzman   •   August 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged Congress to allot funds for the hiring and training of 50,000 contact tracers to boost the country’s tracing capability and curb the transmission of the virus.

In a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año appealed for the allocation of P5 billion out of the P162 billion fund to be created under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Bill to hire and train qualified and competent persons to serve as members of contact tracing teams starting September this year.

While contact tracing efforts are already being conducted by more than 7,000 contact tracing teams with a total of more than 85,000 contact tracers, Año said there is a need to hire at least 50,000 more to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended ratio of one contact tracer for every 800 people.

“With a projected population of 108 million this year, we need 50,000 more contact tracers to attain the ideal number of 135,000 contact tracers to pursue quick and credible tracing of close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients,” he said in a statement.

He also said that the current number of contact tracers cannot meet the recommendations of Contact Tracing Czar Mayor Benjie Magalong in order to cut the transmission of the disease. 

“We need to significantly increase the number of contact tracers to meet the 1:37 ratio target recommended by Mayor Magalong which has been effective in Baguio and in Cebu City,” he said.

According to the DILG Chief, time is of the essence and government has to act with dispatch given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. 

“We are racing against time. Every single second counts and the longer we fail to expand our contact tracing capacity, the higher the probability that the virus spreads to more communities. We, therefore, need more contact tracers urgently to break the chain of transmission of this virus,” he said.

To ensure funds for the hiring of contact tracers, the DILG proposes the inclusion of a provision under Section 4 of Senate Bill 1564 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill on the “allocation of P5-billion to finance the hiring of 50,000 contact tracers to be implemented by the DILG which shall include, but not limited to, recruitment, training, compensation and operational expenses.”

The DILG is also proposing for the amendment of Section 3 (b) of the bill to ensure that contact tracing efforts in the community will be “subject to the rules and regulations to be issued by the DILG which shall include recruitment, training, compensation, among others, of contact tracers.”

Under the DILG’s proposal, the minimum qualification standards for a contact tracer are: graduate of a Bachelor’s degree on Allied Medical Courses or Criminology; one-year relevant experience; and four hours of relevant training.

Second priority will be given to those who have completed at least two years of college education in medical or criminology- related courses provided they have the relevant training and experience, it added.

“We will also prioritize the hiring of government contract of service personnel whose contracts have not been renewed due to COVID-19 budget realignments, returning Overseas Filipino Workers whose employments have been disrupted, and local company workers whose services have been recently terminated,” the department said.

Of the 50,000 contact tracers to be hired, 20,000 will be deployed in Luzon, 15,000 to the Visayas, and another 15,000 in Mindanao based on the region’s population and deducting the current number of contact tracers already working in the areas. 

The hiring of contact tracers will be facilitated by the DILG regional offices with the help of its provincial, city, and municipal offices that will screen the applicants.

Pursuant to Resolution 25 of the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the DILG is the lead agency in the government’s contact tracing efforts.

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