Walang under the table! Vico Sotto opens pre-bidding for ‘new normal’ learning tools to public

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MANILA – The Pasig City government on Friday started the pre-bidding conference (PBC) of the tablets and laptops to be used by public school students under the distance learning modality.

Mayor Vico Sotto guaranteed the transparency and fairness of the bidding process.

“Even the specs, to be fair and to get rid of doubts on the bidding process, we accepted your suggestions during the PBC,” Sotto said in Filipino in a Facebook post.

He noted that the city’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) will issue a bid bulletin reflecting the results of the pre-bidding process.

“All we ask is that you follow the law, our rules, and that you only bid if you know you will be able to deliver on time. Salamat po (thank you) and may the best [lowest price, correct specifications] bidder win,” said Sotto.

Sotto earlier said the city government will provide PHP1.2 billion to fund the distance learning method during the health crisis, as face-to-face classes remain prohibited due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“In the case of virtual classes, we are preparing better internet connections at the barangay level where the students can download the learning modules,” Sotto said.

The distance learning modality can be performed with the use of one or more technologies or any electronic platforms.

Meanwhile, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said the distance learning modality needs gadgets, electronic learning materials as well as other equipment for offline learning and modules.

“DepEd (Department of Education) said they will be conducting different ways to deliver education to our students directly to their houses, this includes the so-called distance learning–so when it comes to distance learning, there is a need for equipment,” Romulo said in a Laging Handa press briefing on Friday.

Romulo, also chair of the House committee on basic education and culture, said there is already an existing law that could help the country sustain the education system during the coronavirus health crisis.

“Sa distance learning, kailangan po ng equipment at ng WiFi connection. Paano po ito gagastusan ng gobyerno? Meron na po tayong batas (In distance learning, there is a need for equipment and WiFi connection. How would the government fund this? We already have an existing law),” he said, citing the Republic Act 8525 the Adopt-a-School Program (ASP).

He said under ASP, the Deped allows the private sector and corporations to help the public schools they chose to adopt, whether elementary, secondary, or tertiary.

Romulo said private entities that will adopt public schools and donate online learning tools could receive up to 150 percent tax-deductible under the ASP.

Under the program, he said, the donated basic learning materials can be deducted from the companies’ gross taxable income up to 150 percent of the value of their contribution.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said face-to-face classes would not be allowed until a vaccine for Covid-19 is already available. (PNA)