For Mary Hope Gabinete, principal of Tiniguiban Elementary School, the first day of distance learning was an acid test on the months of preparation they had put in preparing for the October 4 opening of classes.

“Handang-handa rin kami, lahat ng protocols ng ating gobyerno ay sinusunod namin ng aming division. So far, wala pa akong nakikitang problema pero titingnan natin kapag dumami ang parents sa labas,” she said.

Gabinete said their school had completed the package of modules and activity sheets including COVID-19 related comics given from the central office, which would be picked up by parents at the school during their given schedules.

“When it comes to the preparation of modules and activity sheets, meron kasi kaming ALIVE, yong Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education, kumpleto rin ang comics, okay siya, ýong distributions at retrievals, may kaniya-kaniyang schedule parents na hindi sila dadami dito sa paaralan. Ang teachers ay 50 percent lang ang pumasok ngayon, 50 percent bukas,” she said.

Gabinete said that their school has required the wearing face shields, face masks, and parents are being required to bring their own pens for their personal use.

After the recent news of a positive case in Barangay Tiniguiban, Gabinete said that the school will only allow one parent inside the room or put the modules outside of the room for immediate pick up to avoid contact.



In Mateo Jagmis Memorial Elementary School (MJMES), principal Fe Cabasal said that they have prepared two months prior to the opening of classes even they are also using the modular methods. The school also conducted an orientation to teachers, parents, and learners to also brief them with the new learning method in the local education landscape and compliance to prescribed health protocols.

The modules provided by the schools are also contextualized to align with the most essential learning competencies mandated by the Department of Education (DepEd). Even without the face-to-face classes, the school also prepared its facilities, which also includes the disinfection, putting essential markings for distancing, and boxes and envelopes for modules.

“I can say na we are 100 percent prepared because we started preparing about two months ago. We conducted parents’ orientation, meron din kaming learners’ orientation through leaflets,” she said.

“Sinusunod din namin ang health protocol, meron kaming scanner each grade level, foot bath, para ma-avoid namin ang pag-flock ng mga magulang sa isang lugar. Para don pa lang sa entrance ng school ay walang tatambak at alam nila kung saan sila pupunta. We see to it na ang modules namin ay idi-disinfect every week,” she said.

OIC Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Mabel Musa of City DepEd said that schools in Puerto Princesa are prepared “9 out of 10” based on its inspection of over a hundred public schools both elementary and secondary.

Public schools are still open to accepting late enrollees for the current school year.


Preparation in rural areas

Marcelino A. Javarez National High School (MAJNHS) in Brgy. Maruyogon, the biggest school in the northern part of the city, started Sunday to deliver the modules to seven drop-off centers reaching barangays such as Maoyon, Lucbuan, Manalo, and Sta. Cruz.

Nelbin Palao, school principal, said that they have started the distribution day before the opening of classes as the DepEd already ordered the release of modules and to maximize the man power for the distribution.


Image by Loren Jane Tumalac.


“Kasi ang Marcelino A. Javarez National High School ay nagki-cater ng seven barangays. So mahirap sa part noong mga magulang kung pupunta sila sa school, kasi karamihan ng scheme, pupunta sa school at doon kukuha ng module. Pero sa amin, para less ang mobility ng paglakad no’ng tao, doon lang sila sa barangay, per barangay ang distribution,” he said.

“Feeling ko yon yong pinakamadaling paraan para makuha kaagad yong module, siguradong makukuha ng magulang yong module ng anak nila. At the same time, less yong paglalakad nila sa mobility, kumbaga, kung anong barangay ka, doon ka lang kukuha. Hindi mo kailangang pumasok pa sa ibang barangay para makarating ng school,” he said.

He added that the problems they have encountered are the misplace of intended modules in the different drop-off and the uninformed parents due to the absence of cellular phones of some parents after the announcement of module distribution was posted online.

“Number one common problem yong dahil marami kaming drop off centers, naligaw yong ibang modules. Dapat intended siya sa barangay na ‘to pero dahil nailagay siya sa box na iyon, which is talaga nga naming common error talaga gawa nga ng nagkaroon lang ng kalituhan, Another problem na na-encounter namin is yong ibang parent medyo hindi sila na-informed talaga, gawa nga na yong iba walang cellphones,” he added.


Reaching the students

Gabinete expressed confidence that the students will be able to cope with the modular learning method as they already provided references such as textbooks to parents a month ago and also conducted their online reading assessment for children to see those students who are in need with additional guidance.

“Alam namin kung sino-sinong mga bata ang nangangailangan ng tulong na dapat tutulungan namin, simula next week ay bibigyan namin ng activity sheets para sa mga below average at yon naman mga nakakaangat, sila ay bibigyan din sila ng enhancement activities,” she said.

Cabasal, on the other hand, said that they also considered that there are also students who are not independent learners so they formed activity sheets aligned with most essential learning competencies of DepEd.



“Nag-craft na ang teachers ng activity sheets na naka-align sa most essential learning competencies na mandated ng DepEd. If the time comes and the teachers will be allowed to go home visit, meron silang dala-dala, hindi lang mga sarili nila, either reading materials or activity sheets to support the modules, tawag natin dyan ay self-learning modules,” she said.

She said that they have started to conduct profiling and when home visits will be allowed, teachers will bring intervention materials for remediation.

She added that through the parents’ orientation, the school conducted and with the constant communication of teachers to learners and guardians, both parties could help to strengthen the learning of students even through self-learning modules.


Struggle of parents

Dolores Hernilio admitted that it would be challenging for her to teach her grandson as the latter is used to the teaching style of the teachers at school.

“Mahirap sa kaniya kasi nasanay na siya sa teacher, kung sa bahay, malamang may kasama pa na laro yon pero gagawin ko pa rin lahat para may matutunan. Ang hirap din kasi hindi nakasanayan,” she said.


Image by Loren Jane Tumalac.


Alfred Magno, a father of two students in grade 3 also shares same sentiment with Hernilio. Magno said that it would also be a struggle on their part as he and his wife are both working in day shift.

Magno said that he understand the situation and they would just work things out to help their children in modular method to secure their safety inside their home.

“Siguro bago pumasok sa trabaho at sa pag-uwi, ganon na lang matuturuan at saka katulad ngayon na day off namin, mga pagkakataon na mabigyan namin sila ng time. Sila na lang muna (kung may pasok sa trabaho) mag-aral siguro, i-check din namin kapag nandon na kami,” he said.


(with reports from Loren Jane Tumalac)