DILG to LGUs: Assist the DepED in the adjustment to the new normal

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today urged local government units (LGUs) to assist the public schools in their areas adjust to the new normal as well as to utilize the Special Education Fund (SEF) to support the localization of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) of the Department of Education (DepEd).

DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that Local Chief Executives must immediately convene their respective Local School Boards to discuss which of the new learning modalities identified by the DepEd can be utilized in their separate areas and provide the necessary support to their teachers and learners.

“In a crisis, we need all the help that we can get at ang SEF ay tulong na itinatadhana ng ating batas para sa pagpapanatili ng matibay na pundasyon at kalidad ng edukasyon sa ating bansa. Hinihikayat natin ang LGUs na gamitin ito ngayong malaki and kinakaharap na pagsubok ng ating sektor ng edukasyon,” said Malaya, who is a former education assistant secretary.

“To do this, LGUs must convene and activate their local school boards (LSB) para agarang alokasyon ng pondong ito,” he added.

He also urged all LGUs to assist in the enrollment activities such as the provision of kiosk or center in the barangay for the distribution and collection of enrolment forms of learners in public schools in their respective areas; and assist schools under their jurisdiction in the delivery and collection of printed modules from the homes of the students.

Under the Local Government Code, the LSB is a body created on the provincial, city, and municipal levels that determine the supplementary budgetary allocation the LGU can provide for the operation and maintenance of public schools nationwide, among others.

Malaya said that the LSB’s function in providing support to public schools would be a big help in the implementation of the BE-LCP this school year, which “will be more challenging in comparison to the previous ones.”

“We may have a lot on our plate nowadays pero hindi natin kailanman dapat kalimutan ang edukasyon ng ating mga Kabataan,” he added.

Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-096, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año encouraged all LCEs to immediately convene their respective LSBs to determine and allocate supplementary budget needs, such as the SEF, for the localized implementation of BE-LCP. Section 272 of the Local Government Code states that “The proceeds from the additional one percent (1%) tax on real property accruing to the SEF shall be automatically released to the LSBs.”

“Less than two months na lang pasukan na so this early, kailangan ng magconvene and LSBs so they can assist the learners and their families, teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) in public elementary and secondary schools, alternative learning centers and DepEd offices nationwide,” he said.

LSBs must also advise the Sanggunian Committee on Education on matters of local appropriations for educational purposes, and discuss the learning modality deemed appropriate in the context of local conditions and consistent with IATF-MEID guidelines and how to prepare teachers and school leaders’ delivery modalities.

LGU support for BE-LCP In a previous statement, Año encouraged LGUs to be able partners in the implementation of Oplan Balik Eskwela and BE-LCP and “to be more creative in assisting schools and students as they immerse in a new learning environment” under a new normal.

“In aid of the 2020 Brigada Eskwela and OBE programs, I enjoin all LGUs and all barangays to assist the schools within your jurisdictions to adjust to the new learning modalities,” he said.

The DILG Chief said that LGUs must also consider providing or donating learning resources to public schools, teachers, and students such as laptops, desktops, tablet PCs, tablets, smartphones, internet services “to help in ensuring that quality education will still be attained despite the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis.”

He then reiterated that the said learning resources must be compliant with the minimum specifications for ICT equipment and internet service set by DepEd, which was provided in a memorandum also released by the DILG on June 11, 2020.