BAGUIO CITY– The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR), in its meeting last December 9,2021, endorsed the request to National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba to waive the registration and license fees for handheld radios that will be utilized in the conduct of the distance learning modality in schools in the Cordillera region.
Due to the restrictions on face-to-face gatherings because of the global pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) continually looks for ways to continue the learning process by employing various Learning Delivery Modalities (LDM) while maintaining health, safety, and well-being of the learners and teachers. In CAR, the utilization of self-learning modules (SLM) is commonly used in many schools. However, parents of learners from various schools in Ifugao and Benguet expressed their sentiment of not being competent enough to guide their children using SLM and mentioned the need for more teacher-student instruction. In response to the parents’ concern, the DepEd will be utilizing two-way handheld radios in areas where there is weak or no internet connectivity. This concern was discussed in the RDC Committee on Infrastructure Development (InfraCom) and subsequently forwarded to the RDC en banc.
The National Telecommunication Commission requires registration and license fees for the radios and for this, DepEd will require a considerable amount. The Benguet and Ifugao DepEd Schools Division Offices and the Provincial Government of Ifugao formally requested the NTC-CAR to waive the registration and license fees. However, NTC-CAR responded that such measure can only be decided at the national level.
DepEd-CAR Assistant Regional Director Florante Vergara mentioned that the usage of handheld radio is more effective for teacher-student interaction as the learners can directly ask the teacher and immediately receive clarifications and answers to inquiries.
The waiving of the registration and licensing fees for the handheld radios for the conduct of distance learning will benefit the whole Cordillera Region ensuring that the learning process of learners is not hindered and becomes more effective in the new normal.
The INFRACOM as a support committee of RDC-CAR is tasked to review and endorse infrastructure programs that contribute to the regional development. It evaluates the implementation of infrastructure projects, formulates sector plans and resolutions, and recommends policies to help accelerate infrastructure development in the Cordilleras.
By Bob Lyndon B. Daroya