MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday it lacked authority to stop the Office of the Vice President's learning hubs, following a possible "miscommunication" on whether or not the agency authorized the initiative to help students through distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
Vice President Leni Robredo's office earlier this week released a letter from DepEd calling the learning hubs a "good initiative." The hubs provide assistance to students with volunteer tutors and access to computers, printers, other gadgets, and free internet connection.
But Education Secretary Leonor Briones said her agency did not give any commitment for the project because President Rodrigo Duterte had barred face-to-face learning.
"Mukhang nagkaroon ng miscommunication," she said in a public briefing. "Walang phrase or word na nagsasabing you're authorized to proceed with your programs."
(There seems to have been miscommunication. There is no phrase or word in our letter saying you're authorized to proceed with your programs.)
Video courtesy of PTV
Asked if DepEd would close the learning hubs, Briones replied: "Ang DepEd wala namang authority."
(DepEd has no authority to do that.)
"Wala kaming awtoridad na patawan ng parusa or anuman ang OVP dahil wala iyan sa aming madate sa Department of Education. Iba sigurong ahensya ng gobyerno ang tumitingin d'yan," she added.
(We have no authority to impose a penalty or anything on the OVP because that is not part of our mandate. Perhaps other government agencies are looking into that.)
Duterte earlier banned face-to-face classes to limit the spread of COVID-19, with schools shifting to distance learning using modules, online classes, and lessons via television and radio this school year.
As of Thursday, the country has recorded 424,297 infections.