In its 4th Quarter 2020 meeting on 10 November 2020 conducted online via Zoom, the Social Development Committee (SDC) XI discussed current social sector concerns, particularly on education, health, and social protection.

Among the matters tackled by the Committee was the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Distance Learning Delivery Modalities (DLDM) in Davao Region. Dr. Mary Jeanne Aldeguer of DepEd XI briefed the Committee on the DLDM and its implementing mechanisms. The DLDM is DepEd’s blended and distance learning programs under the New Normal in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, consisting three learning methods – the Modular Distance Learning (MDL), the Blended Learning (BL), and the Homeschooling. DepEd XI’s significant findings and observations in its DLDM initial implementation for SY 2020-2021 were: poor/unstable internet access for learners; lack of ICT equipment for learners and parents; and, the need of some students for a more visual presentation of lessons. DepEd XI committed to heighten the quality assurance of the Learning Modules that are distributed to distance learners, as well as the intensified use of TV and Radio in teaching and learning delivery. DepEd XI cited that the Blended Learning Modality, with Minimum-Face-to-Face, particularly those in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAS) and Last Mile Schools, will serve as the psychosocial support to ensure the wellness of the learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee enjoined all National Government Agencies and other relevant government instrumentalities to support DepEd XI’s implementation of the DLDM in Davao Region.

On a related concern, Regional Director Gary Martel and Ms. Kate Ortega of DBM XI discussed the Supreme Court Ruling on the Mandanas Case and its implications to National Government-LGUs devolved functions particularly on social development expenditures. The Supreme Court ruling will increase the Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA) base to PhP 354 billion in 2022, PhP 382 billion in 2023, and PhP 420 billion in 2024, which would be a big leap for LGUs in terms of IRA shares. Likewise, the same ruling will present a big challenge on LGUs’ capacities on project development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. In response, Mr. Mark Lemuel Garcia of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) announced that DAP plans to roll-out capacity building interventions for LGUs.

On health and social protection, DOH XI provided updates on the COVID-19 situation in Davao Region, highlighting the challenges/concerns that transpired over the 3rd Quarter of 2020. As of 16 November 2020, Davao Region has recorded a total of 7,503 cases. On contact tracing, DOH XI reported that 85% of close contacts of confirmed cases were traced. In addressing concerns related to the rise in local transmission of the virus, the Davao City Government launched the SafeDavao QR Code system. The SafeDavao QR Code system aims to hasten contact tracing efforts and prohibit non-essential movement of the people within the City. Mr. Lemuel Ortonio of the Davao HRMO explained the features of the QR Code system for both its individual and establishment interfaces.

Laurence Gido, NEDA XI
Photos by NEDA XI