May 1, 2020 (8:46 PM)

7 min read


Over a hundred tablets for online learning were prepared and tagged by Institutional Communications and Promotions (ICOMMP) Office of the Ateneo de Davao, the said tablets await their delivery to the respective University’s scholars. Photo from Gian Carlo Tancontian

Amidst the administration and SAMAHAN’s effort to distribute home pocket wi-fi and iPad devices to summer class students living within Davao City, SAMAHAN President Renz Lacorte confirmed that the distribution of the same devices to students outside Davao City will be on “stand-by” due to the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Last April 24, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced that the ECQ would be until May 15 in accordance with the announcement of the national government to extend the quarantine within the city and Davao Region.

“All deliveries outside Davao are on stand-by. We hope to find a mechanism ASAP. We target to start outside Davao next week when the mechanisms are already developed,” Lacorte told Atenews.

Fr. Ulysses Cabayao, SJ, head of the ad hoc committee for device distribution, revealed that the distribution depends on the coordination of the military and the assistance they can provide the University.

“Currently, we are still trying to reach out to our contacts in the AFP and we’re trying to explore the possibility of having them transport it to the different municipalities and at the same time, in the municipalities themselves, identifying a point person, this could be a student or a faculty member, who will become a node of distribution in those municipalities or provinces,” he said, admitting that the University is “really helpless” without the support of the military in relation to the delivery of the devices.

He also mentioned that they tried distributing relief goods to Lake Sebu last Monday but were halted in one of the checkpoints along the way.

“[The] coordination we’ve made with the decision-makers did not really trickle down to the people on the ground that’s why it’s very difficult to coordinate despite the clearances we have obtained from their commanders,” he added.

In terms of the scope of delivery loads outside Davao City, Fr. Cabayao emphasized that it depends on the availability of the transportation the military can provide.

“We will have to identify the municipalities with the highest number of students and we will prioritize them,” he said.

He also mentioned that the devices, as well as the final list of students who will receive them are already at hand. However, distribution remains on hold until the military extends transportation assistance, asking for the students’ understanding regarding the matter.

There are 432 students outside Davao City who are still waiting for the device distribution.

In a meeting via Zoom last April 25, University administrators, in coordination with the SAMAHAN, decided the target date of delivery of wifi and iPad devices outside Davao City to be on May 4. Summer classes will end on May 20.

Home wi-fi devices were distributed to students who were enrolled in online summer classes while iPads were only given to enrolled students tagged as “Code Red” based on a set of criteria determined by the cluster representatives and the SAMAHAN. For faculty members, the wifi devices are loaned.

Device distribution within Davao City

The devices were distributed to students residing in Davao City last April 20, 21, 24 and 27. Currently, the parties involved are organizing the fifth and final batch of deliveries, to be dispatched tomorrow.

There are a total of 1,761 summer class enrollees, 140 members of the faculty who availed the home pocket wi-fi. As of press time, a total of 1,062 successful deliveries have been made to students and faculty.

However, there were cases wherein students within Davao City who requested devices were not immediately accommodated.

Marketing student and scholar Nick Biñas applied for a home wi-fi  and iPad device; however, he was not immediately prioritized for the iPad because he was not initially tagged as “Code Red.”

“Na-deliver na ang home prepaid wi-fi pero nagtaka ako bakit wala pa rin ang iPad then sabi nila hindi kasi nalagay name ko sa red code for summer class kaya late na nilagay,” he said.

“Unta maka-dawat pa ko og ipad wala gyud ko’y magamit na device kay limited lang ang feature sa akoang phone tapos guba pa akoang laptop,” Biñas added.

Eventually, after reaching out directly to the SAMAHAN Central Board, Biñas received a text message that the iPad delivery will be scheduled on May 2.

Hanna Yarso, Business and Management cluster representative, clarified the mechanism used by its cluster to identify those who need the devices.

“Sa B&M, we have course representatives to inform the students in their respective programs the definition and guidelines of SAMAHAN Code Red. The students who wish to avail the offer must notify his/her course representatives.

“Then the course representatives must inform the SEC President together with the info of the students. The students under code red under B&M, are subjectively evaluated by course reps and the SEC President based on their financial capacity or status and the need for other resources or gadgets to pursue online classes,” she explained.

She also acknowledged that lapses may arise if they cannot “successfully communicate” with the students which would then cause the delay of the distribution.

“The system is not perfect. Alam natin ‘yan. But we, SAMAHAN and as someone who leads the BMSEC will always remain true to our purpose–to be the student body that prioritizes the concerns of the students,” she said.

Online summer classes

Last April 22, AdDU commenced its online summer classes despite students’ clamor and call for its cancellation. Citing issues of accessibility and stability, some students expressed facing difficulties in terms of resources like devices and internet connection. 

Camille Kate Manalastas, an accountancy student who received a home wi-fi device, hopes that assistance provided by the University like this continues. 

“Malaking tulong siya kasi it made this online summer class possible, na-lessen ang problems ng students in terms of the needed devices para maka-attend ng online class,” she said.

Meanwhile, a student from Agusan del Sur who requested for a home wi-fi device and is yet to obtain one now only uses mobile data amidst poor signal shared her online learning experience.

“9AM man class ko then 8:30 ipa-load ko na ang Google classroom ko at Google Meet. Tapos naka-absent na ako twice kay hindi talaga sya mag-load. Then I asked my classmates na lang kung ano ginawa nila,” she said.

The student expressed her disappointment over the wi-fi devices not yet delivered to those like her who do not reside in Davao City.

“Ang wi-fi intended for summer class tapos muabot diay kay half a month na after nag-start ang classes pero wala na man ko’y choice kay nag-skwela ra man ta and kailangan man nako ni na subject para dili ko ma-irregular. Studying is expensive gyud diay; you have no choice kung unsa’y imong state due to ECQ,” she added.

In response to these situations, Lacorte said that they are doing their best to solve these issues.

“This is very unfortunate, though expected, but we are currently addressing the problem. We solve the problems in a case to case basis, and have strong direct links to concerned offices on that. As SAMAHAN, we gather all of these and respond to it in our capacities and levels, but if it needs to be raised to admin, we raise it and assert solutions immediately,” he said.

The said operations were initiated by the administration in coordination with the SAMAHAN and iHELP, the umbrella program of all SAMAHAN-initiated activities for addressing emergency concerns.

End the silence of the gagged!

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