DepEd says to spend on gadgets, module printing if it had Manila Bay's 'white sand' funds

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2020 01:13 PM | Updated as of Sep 07 2020 05:46 PM

MANILA — If the Department of Education had the same amount used to fund the dumping of artificial white sand in Manila Bay, it would have purchased gadgets and print modules in preparation for the upcoming school year's distance learning.

"Kung, halimbawa, may P389 million na ibibigay ang pamahalaan sa departamento, sigurado ako na malaking bahagi diyan mapupunta sa, halimbawa, sa pangangailangan ng gadgets," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in response to a question during a virtual press briefing on Monday.

(If, for example, government gave the department P389 million, I'm sure a bulk of the funding would be spent, for instance, on much-needed gadgets.)

Briones said a portion of the fund would also be used in the printing of self-learning modules, which will be used by students who do not have gadgets or internet connection for online classes.

The education chief clarified though that her department does not meddle with the budget of other government agencies.

"Hindi kami nakikialam sa budget ng may budget. Pero, kung may budget kami na ganoon kahalaga, pupunta 'yan sigurado ako sa gadgets," she said.

(I'm not meddling with the budget of others. But if we had the same amount, I'm sure that would go to gadgets.)

"Kung ano ang in-allocate sa amin ng Presidente at ng Department of Budget [and Management], 'yon ang pinagkakasya namin," she added.

(We work with how much was allocated to us by the President and the Department of Budget.)

The DepEd has distributed gadgets to 93 percent of all public schools in the country under its computerization program.

Environmental groups earlier criticized the dumping of crushed dolomite rocks at the baywalk as an unnecessary part of the government's Manila Bay clean-up program.

A scientist said storms and the high tide could wash away the artificial white sand.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said funds spent on the dumping of the artificial sand cannot be diverted since the project was bankrolled and bid out "more than a year ago."