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DEPARTMENT of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Salustiano “Sal” Jimenez said the second quarter of delivering distance learning to children saw no complaints from either parents or teachers since Jan. 4, 2021.

“We hope for a continuing smooth and orderly distance learning school year under Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan of which, aside from modular printed materials, Cebu Province DepEd has started television-based instruction and radio-based instruction in Central Visayas,” Jimenez said.

He said that DepEd 7 is prepared to go to pilot schools for face-to-face classroom learning if President Rodrigo Duterte and DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones will allow it. As of now, 98 schools will participate in the possible limited face-to-face pilot run in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental.

Most of the 98 schools are in the mountains and islands. The criterion is a tripartite shared responsibility with Parents-Teachers Association (PTA), Local Government Unit (LGU), and DepEd to ensure that the participating schools are compliant to the  standard and protocol of the Department of Health (DOH) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Jimenez said that if no hindrance, the target to finish the 2020-2021 school year will be on June 15, 2021.

“We hope that there will be no weather disturbance or calamities that will lead to class suspension so we can finish the school year on schedule by June 15,” Jimenez said.

He said there are now more than 82,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel in Central Visayas. Of the 82,000, almost 80,000 are teaching personnel, and more than 2,000 are non-teaching personnel.

The DepEd 7 annual budget is billions of pesos which are separately downloaded to regional offices and division offices based on the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

He said all teachers with the same position nationwide have the same salary. A Teacher 1 in Metro Cebu has the same amount of salary of his counterpart in the hinterlands. The only difference is that if a teacher who is a city resident is assigned in the hinterland; he will receive a hardship allowance.

The DepEd positions are: Teacher 1, Step 1 to Step 8; Teacher 2, Step 1 to Step 8; Teacher 3, Step 1 to Step 8; Master Teacher, Master Teacher 1 to Master Teacher 4; Administrator, Head Teacher 1 to Head Teacher 6; Principal, Principal 1 to Principal 4; Supervisor; Superintendent; up to higher levels.

Jimenez started as Teacher 1, promoted to Teacher 2, Teacher 3, Head Teacher 3, Principal 1, Division Supervisor, Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, Assistant Regional Director and then DepEd 7 Director.

“I believed in destiny. If God allows it to happen, it will really happen whatever is the cost,” Jimenez said.

There is a salary increase every year. Even if a teacher has no promotion, he has salary increase this month of January 2021. If a teacher is promoted, he will receive double salary increases.

In real estate tax of which one percent will go to Special Education Fund (SEF), Jimenez said there is a Local School Board (LSB) chaired by the governor and co-chaired by the division superintendent if province; and chaired by mayor and co-chaired by city superintendent if city.

The LSB with several committees as members will come up with priority programs and projects to be funded by SEF.

“The LGU and DepEd officials will deliberate the usage of SEF. So far in Central Visayas, LGU and DepEd officials are working well in allocating SEF funds.

He said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), DepEd and LGU have joint memorandum circular on how to use SEF and an Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on what will be the allowable expenses that can be taken from SEF.

“Our Local School Boards are guided by these circular and IRR, and come up with projects suitable to education,” Jimenez said.