Briones: ‘We don’t accept cash donations’

Bonz Magsambol
The Department of Education releases the minimum specifications for the gadgets and internet services to be donated to schools, teachers, and students for distance learning

DISTANCE LEARNING. File photo of students during the first day of classes school year 2017-2018. Photo by Ben Nabong

MANILA, Philippines – Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Thursday, June 11, said the Department of Education (DepEd) is not accepting cash donations for conducting distance learning.

During a Senate hearing on basic education, Briones said the DepEd is communicating with its partner donors in providing gadgets to students who don’t have access to the technology needed for the opening of classes on August 24. 

“We have an external partnership office headed by Undersecretary Toni Umali. By the way, our policy, we don’t accept cash donations. It can only be an external partnership. It can only also be through me so we can assess which regions for example are in most need of the gadgets,” Briones said. 

Briones said the DepEd has set standards for the specifications of the gadgets needed for the distance learning.

“We are setting standards Mr. Chair ang gusto namin ay ang capacity ng kanilang gadgets is sufficient to contain our learning materials. We already made such issuances,” Briones said. 

In a DepEd memorandum dated June 8, the department set the minimum specifications for the gadgets and internet services to be donated to schools, teachers, and students. 

Screenshot from the DepEd memo

Screenshot from the DepEd memo
Screenshot from the DepEd memo
Screenshot from the DepEd memo

Screenshot from the DepEd memo

For better processing of donations, Senator Nancy Binay advised Briones to craft mechanics for donating gadgets, to be posted on DepEd’s official social media pages.

“You can post on sa Facebook page ng DepEd ng mechanics to donate para alam nila kung ano ang ido-donate nila (You can post on the Facebook page of DepEd the mechanics to donate so they would know what to donate),” Binay said. 

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive of “no vaccine, no classes”, the DepEd said on Monday, June 8, it would postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available.

The President also expressed doubts about the country’s capability to implement Briones’ idea. (READ: Duterte on DepEd’s distance learning: ‘I don’t know if we’re ready’)

Despite calls for delaying classes, the DepEd said that its preparation for the blended learning or distance learning approach is “underway” so classes can start on August 24. (READ: Teachers’ group wants class opening delayed to January 2021)

The decision to open schools in the middle of the health crisis had been met with criticism. (READ: No student left behind? During pandemic, education ‘only for those who can afford’)

Parents and students pointed out that the lockdown affected household finances. Many Filipinos don’t even have access to a computer or the internet.

As of Thursday, the DepEd said that over 9 million public and private schools students have signed up for the opening of classes on August 24. (READ: Remote enrollment in basic education will be implemented during pandemic) – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.