Celebrate responsibly

OF TREES AND FOREST It’s going to be a different holiday season this year. Countries around the world are grappling with a dilemma of whether to relax pandemic restrictions to allow people to celebrate the holidays. On one hand, there is fear that relaxing restrictions would cause a spike in …

University of the people

GOVERNANCE MATTERS A threat to withhold funding for the University of the Philippines (UP) has been made apparently in response to a call for an “academic strike.” It appears irrelevant that the call was originally made not by UP by its affluent neighbor across Katipunan, Ateneo. It has become commonplace …

LOOK: UP students dress the moon goddess, manananggal, and more in reimagined ternos

They look ravishing in their butterfly sleeves

If there is one thing to be happy about in the past years in the local fashion scene, it is the resurgence of the terno. Long before, the Philippine National Dress was thought to go extinct due as women find it unsuitable for modern lifestyle. Today, the ternos are brought out of the closet, not only for high society and formal events, but also for casual days. 

Thanks to the modern visionaries of the terno, even the young have taken notice of it, incorporating the butterfly sleeves in their wardrobe and selfies, thus prolonging the life of the dress in Philippine culture.

Among the institutions that foster the learning of terno heritage is the University of the Philippines, through its clothing textile program, under the College of Home Economics. 

Together with the UP CHE Costume Museum, which focuses on textile conversation and the preservation of the Filipino traditional clothing, the Clothing Technology students conducted a digital laboratory practicum last October. The groups of student were assigned a garment from the “baul.” Through photographic study and research, they pieced the garments together, and made illustrated reconstructions of their ensembles.

Check out some of the illustrations the students come up with for “From the Baul: Reconstruction.”

Reconstructed by: Rhaj Nortiza, Riva Quitevis, and Regine Yu

“This group reimagined the elegant Art Nouveau set on a manananggal of high influence with a dark past who preyed on corrupt officials at night. The fully-embellished ensemble was fit for a socialite during the carnivalesque 1930s, and quite an easy wear when disembodying herself after an evening’s soiree.”

Reconstructed by: Denise Camacho, Bianca Ruta, and Kira Tidon

“The students considered this ensemble as a middle class woman’s ‘Sunday’s best’ during the Philippine Industrialization, which gave rise to the middle class. Though minimal compared to high-end designer ternos, the garments have finely crafted embroidery and prints inspired by modern art. The sweeping silhouette of the saya de cola, too, reminded of the folk song Paru-parong Bukid, about a Filipina’s formal dress for church.”

Reconstructed by: Faye Bobis, Patricia Halos, and Immaculate Pamintuan

“For this terno, the students were inspired by the tale of the Bakunawa and the Seven Moons. Not only is this ensemble all white, the saya de cola has a “moonlight” shine to it. In the story, Bathala planted bamboo on the moon, giving its dark sports. This was to keep the serpent monster, Bakunawa, from eating the last moon, the magnificent Haliya. Hence, the gray floral embroidery on the pañuelo, manggas, and camisa further reminded them of this little lunar detail.”

Reconstructed by: Paul Andrew Domantay, Cristina Ferrer, and Julian Fernando Runio III

“Here we have a very tropical-themed terno with coconut trees in every piece. The baro is not the only cool garment in the set. Even the saya has wide lace panels and eyelet embroidery all over. The glamor of 1920s Hollywood clearly had an influence on the traje de mestiza, making it less bulky and more playful with its motifs. The coconut tree terno was possibly an early trendsetter to the 1950s tiki craze.”

Reconstructed by: Piper Cruzata, Anjanette Khong Hun, Jilleane Mariano, and Aeris Gabrielle Recillo

“This traje de mestiza is fit for the pageant ball. Its color, royal purple majesty, and arabesque filigree pattern give the wearer a glamorous air, and she even accessorizes with a matching abaniko. The Roaring Twenties influenced Filipina fashion, as evidenced by the flat butterfly sleeves and glittering motifs. This was the time when the Spanish-era traje de mestiza was evolving into the terno ensemble.”

Reconstructed by: Kyle Clarence Demot, China Monika Ho, Daniel Gene Nicholas Vilda, and Danielle Anne Vilda

“Quite a unique find in our collection is a terno set with Chinese art motifs, such as the shou symbol and flowers like the peony and chrysanthemum. Each has its own deep meaning in Chinese symbology. With its warm red color and good luck charms, the students reimagined the terno worn by an elegant mother for a special family event. Her child is even swaddled in a matching blanket.”

Visit @upche.costumemuseum to see more of the students’ works.

What are clinical trials and how do they work?

WASHINGTON (AFP) – To find out whether experimental Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, researchers design clinical trials involving thousands of volunteers, divided into groups that receive either the drug under investigation or a placebo.

Data from such trials have shown that two vaccines – one developed by Pfizer and BioNtech, the other by Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health – are about 95 percent effective.

Here’s a look at how trials work:

Who leads clinical trials?
American pharmaceutical Pfizer itself has led and financed a clinical trial of its vaccine involving almost 44,000 people in the United States, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.

Volunteers who are accepted receive two doses 21 days apart and get regular follow-up.

The Moderna-NIH vaccine is given 28-days-apart at locations across the US on some 30,000 volunteers, in a trial part funded by the taxpayer.

The trials are “’blinded’” meaning neither the volunteers nor the health care providers know who gets the medicine and who gets a saline solution placebo.

How do we know if the vaccines worked?
Volunteers have not been deliberately infected with the virus. This option, known as a challenge trial, was considered but deemed too risky given that there aren’t any Covid-19 treatments that are proven as highly-effective.

Instead volunteers are expected to go about their lives as normal, and are given the same advice about mask use, distancing and hand washing as everyone else.

Over the course of time, a certain number naturally become infected, and since they’re getting regular follow-up, the trial investigators quickly find out.

If the vaccine is effective, the number of people who fall sick in the vaccine group should be lower than the number of people who get ill in the placebo group.

The aim is to find a difference great enough to exclude the possibility it occurred by chance. Statistical methods come into play to achieve a predetermined level of certainty.

It’s worth noting that the primary goal is to prevent people from getting sick, with good vaccines also protecting people from severe illness.

Stopping people from getting infected at all, and thus being able to transmit the virus forward, is a secondary goal for Moderna.

Moncef Slaoui, chief of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, said Wednesday he expects the vaccines will achieve these goals too, though at a lower efficacy rate.

Why have a placebo?
The only way of knowing whether a vaccine works is by providing a “control,” which is a demonstration of what would happen in its absence.

Of course, different people have different risk profiles in terms of their ages, underlying conditions, and how much risky behavior they engage in.

That’s why the trials need to be scaled to tens of thousands of people to eliminate confounding factors.

Who analyzes the data?
To ensure scientific rigor is upheld, the data is firewalled from the companies and analyzed by experts in a “data and safety monitoring board” whose membership is kept secret to prevent political pressure.

Over the course of a trial, these committees will lift the hood on the data that’s been collected so far and see which patients belonged to which group.

They can then inform the manufacturer in case of conclusive results and the manufacturer can then use the data, if it’s favorable, to apply for a marketing authorization.

The boards also closely monitor safety, looking at the frequency and severity of side-effects, a key factor in determining regulatory approval.

95 percent efficacy?
Pfizer’s efficacy analysis featured 170 people who fell sick with Covid-19 in the seven days following the second dose, which might seem like a small number of people compared to the total trial participants (44,000).

But it’s enough to say the result is statistically significant with a high-degree of certainty.
That’s because 162 people who fell ill were on the placebo, and only eight were in the vaccine group – a difference so great it’s extremely improbable to come about by chance.

An efficacy of 95 percent signifies that the risk of catching Covid-19 is reduced by 95 percent in the vaccinated group compared to the placebo group.

Placebo group get vaccine?
They will all be transferred to the vaccine arm – but it is still being decided when that will happen, said Slaoui. The Pfizer and Moderna trials will therefore lose their “control” groups, but the participants will still be followed for two more years to determine how long immunity lasts and whether there are longer-term safety effects.

It will also make it harder to recruit new people to ongoing trials for vaccines that aren’t yet as close to applying for approval.

Sunshine Guimary cries: ‘Uwi ka na Chang2’

An emotional vlogger-model Sunshine Guimary took to social media to ask help from netizens in finding her missing dog Chanel.

On Instagram, Sunshine said that she cannot sleep anymore because of her missing dog.

Her full post:

“I can’t imagine darating sa point mag popost ako ng ganito,😭yung pipili ka ng picture na gagmitin sa poster 💔sleepless night, wla pang kain our home is empty without you 😭nasan ka na Chanel? Mababaliw n ako kakahanap sayo, 💔😭 ang sakit sakit na💔

Images courtesy of Sunshine Guimary Instagram

“Hanggang ngayon wla parng balita. Hinalughog n nmn buong Subdivision bawat corner, Nagbahay2 pati drainage sinisilip, Hoping and Praying🙏🏻Uwi kana chang2😭😭😭”

Sunshine has more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram.

Recto urges increased funding for purchase of COVID-19 vaccines

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is pushing for increased funding for the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines under the 2021 national budget.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto

Recto said the P18-billion proposed allocation being pushed in Senate for next year’s budget could cover only 1 in 5 Filipinos, or 20 percent of the population, even if the government purchases the cheapest vaccine available in the market.

During the Senate’s plenary debates on the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed 2020 budget Wednesday, Senator Pia Cayetano noted that World Health Organization recommended a herd immunity of 60 percent to finally break the transmission of the disease.

Cayetano said that based on the costing of the DOH, the cheapest vaccine, the one developed by AztraZeneca, will cost about P610 per person and the most expensive is the one from Chinese Sinopharm, at around P17,690 per person for two doses.

The AstraZeneca vaccine would cost the government some P15 billion to cover 24 million, or 20 percent of the population, she said.

Further, the two senators observed that there was no budget for the expenses on the storage, distribution and inoculation of the vaccine.

Cayetano said the government would need P7 billion more to cover expenses for supply chain and protective equipment for health workers, as well as post vaccination-surveillance, among others.

In the initial budget proposal of the Senate, P10 billion of the P18-billion vaccine fund are placed under the unprogrammed appropriations, or those that are available when government revenue collection exceed targets or when additional grants or foreign funds are generated.

Recto proposed to appropriate as unprogrammed funds at least P20 billion and another P20 billion for the delivery of the vaccines.

“The cost of this pandemic to our economy this year will roughly be P1.9 trillion, the contraction of the economy. The lost opportunity is roughly another P1.9 trillion and here we are haggling with what? P50 billion?” he said.

“The distribution probably will be more expensive than the vaccine itself,” he said.

Cayetano shared Recto’ s view, calling on her colleagues support for more allocation for the vaccines.

Recto said on Thursday that he is optimistic that the government will be able to address the possible challenges that the COVID-19 immunization would pose.

Superal cruises to 5-shot romp in LPGT return

Princess Superal shrugged off rookie Abby Arevalo’s early threat stymied by the latter’s own undoing as she got back to the podium in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour return in new normal with a five-shot victory in the ICTSI Riviera Invitational Challenge at the Couples course in Silang, Cavite on Thursday.

Bracing for a cruise after staying on top by five through 36 holes Wednesday, the reigning Order of Merit champion saw Arevalo pull within three with back-to-back opening hole birdies which the latter, however, squandered with a double-bogey mishap on No. 3.

That all but settled the outcome of the 54-hole championship, the first of two bubble tournaments put up by ICTSI to mark pro golf’s resumption after an eight-month hiatus due to pandemic, as Superal birdied No. 6 and matched Arevalo’s birdie on the ninth to go 6-up again at the turn.

The multi-titled Superal, whose victories included last year’s romp at John Hay where she also reigned as an amateur in the LPGT inaugurals in 2013, then switched off the attack mode at the back, settling for a one-birdie, one-bogey game for a 34-36.

She wound up with a seven-under 209 worth P72,000, spiking her bid with a brilliant eagle-aided opening 67 that propelled her to a six-shot lead over Arevalo.

It was cruise control from there for the 2014 US Girls’ Junior champ as nobody from the compact field could mount any serious challenge with Arevalo ending up matching Superal’s final round output of 35-35 for a 214 for second, marking her maiden campaign with P52,000 in earnings.

Pauline del Rosario, who dominated her rookie season in 2017 with four victories on her way to clinching the OOM diadem, blew a two-under card at the front with three bogeys in the last nine holes, ending up with a 73 for third at 221 while Chanelle Avaricio, the other rookie in the fold, rammed in three straight birdies from No. 3 but dropped a stroke on the par-5 11th and finished with a 70 for fourth at 222.

Chihiro Ikeda, the OOM winner in 2016, limped with a second 76 in three days and wound up fifth at 227 followed by Marvi Monsalve, who pooled a 229 after a 75, three-time OOM titlist Cyna Rodriguez (75-233) and Gretchen Villacencio (75-237).

Superal, who missed out on her campaign in the Japan Step-Up Tour due to travel restrictions and quarantine procedures, seeks to sweep the next LPGT event slated Dec. 8-11 at the adjacent Langer course.

FDCP stamped out in bid to take over MMFF from MMDA

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) maintained Thursday that it does not seek to take from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority the hosting of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP)

“Until this moment, hindi nila gustong kunin ang MMFF (they do want to take over the MMFF),” Senator Risa Hontiveros quoted FDCP officials as saying during the Senate’s 2021 budget debates.

Hontiveros, Senate finance committee vice chairperson, sponsors the FDCP’s P202.4-million proposed budget.

To recall, the MMDA last July removed FDCP head Liza Diño from the MMFF executive committee for supposedly lobbying for the transfer of the management of the MMFF to her agency.

Diño did not deny this, saying in a radio interview then that it was only “rational” the FDCP be in charge of the MMFF. She said, however, that they were stopped from pursuing this in 2017.

In his interpellation on the FDCP budget, Senate President Vicente Sotto III again brought this up as he questioned the agency’s reason for updating last May 28 the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act No. 9167, years after its enactment.

The law, signed in 2002, created the FDCP and defined its mandate.

Citing information from his source in Malacañang, Sotto said the FDCP sought the opinion of Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on the possibility of revising the law’s IRR in a bid to take over the MMFF.

“Merong bubwit na nagbigay ng message dito sa amin na FDCP ang humingi ng sulat kay Sal talaga at iniisip nila talagang dagdagan ang powers because gusto nilang kunin ‘yong Metro Manila Film Festival, para masakop nila, iyon daw ang dahilan. (A source gave us a message that the FDCP wrote to Panelo because they were thinking to expand their powers since they wanted to get the MMFF, so they could take over, that was their reason),” Sotto said.

“Bubwit na lang ito pero taga-Malacañang ‘yong bubwit, kaya ‘wag na nating kontrahin. (This source came from Malacañang, so let’s not negate it),” he continued.

The FDCP confirmed asking Panelo’s opinion about the IRR revision, but insisted that the MMFF was not the reason. Hontiveros said the council also cited as a reason a Supreme Court decision regarding the grant of amusement tax rewards to Filipino producers which was declared unconstitutional by the high court.

Sotto, however, said the new IRR included a provision granting the FDCP the authority to set “standards and guidelines for distribution and exhibition of films in the country.”

A principal author and sponsor of RA 9167, he said this was not included in the powers provided by the law. 

He recalled the Senate’s discussion on the IRRs that exceed provisions of Congress-approved laws.

The senators shared the belief that the MMFF should remain with the MMDA.

“Once you do that, you remove it from the hands of the mayors, I assure you, you do not have a film festival. Subukan mong alisin sa mga mayor yan, ilagay mo sa ibang agency, o sa FDCP, ubos ka. (Try taking it from the mayors, place it in other agencies, or the FDCP, you’re done). Hindi papayag mga mayor (The mayors will not agree),” Sotto said.

Sen. Francis “Tol” Tolentino, former MMDA chairman, agreed with Sotto, saying such event needs “political support” to succeed.

“And to have that political support, you have to have  mayors themselves involved, not just for purposes of monitoring the ticket sales…but for purposes of ensuring that the revenue generated would go the real beneficiaries which would include among others, the Mowelfund (Movie Workers Welfare Foundation) and other beneficiaries,” he said.

“At this point in time, we need not rock the boat. It has been there,” he added.

“Indeed, the MMFF, which I enjoyed for many years with my children, should remain with the MMDA and our local chief executives,” Hontiveros also said.

Fans of Korean stars donate to help poor Filipino kids

Fans of Korean stars Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin of the South Korean drama “Crash Landing on You” donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines more than P10,000 to help disadvantaged children in the country and assist in their COVID-19 response.

(photo from “Son Fairy” Twitter account)

In a Twitter post by “Son Fairy” Thursday night, the user shared their Certificate of Appreciation from UNICEF Philippines, official receipt of the donation drive, and acknowledgement e-mail from the agency.

“As promised! We sent all the cash donations to UNICEF Philippines under the names of Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin. Thank you to our two generous donors!,” Son Fairy posted.

DOH has not paid allowances of 16,764 health frontliners

Some 16,764 frontliners have not been paid their hazard pay and risk allowance as ordered by the economic stimulus law, Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, or Bayanihan 1.

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

This surfaced during a Senate deliberation today on the proposed 2021 P4.5 trillion national budget.       

Through Senator Pia S. Cayetano, vice  chairman of the Senate finance committee, the Department of Health (DOH) said it has run out of funds to pay the frontliners a total of P108.3 million.        

But the DOH has been able to pay more than 58,000 health workers who are regular government employees and another 28,000 job order workers.      

Bayanihan 1 ran from June to September.        

Under Bayanihan 2, hazard pay and special risk allowance had been paid to health workers but those in the central and regional offices have not received their allowances for the simple reason that the DOH sought a legal opinion from the Department of Justice whether they are entitled to the hazard pay and special risk allowance.       

Opposition Senator Francis ‘’Kiko’’ N. Pangilinan said that the DOH and other agencies should act fast on this problem because it is not right that those entitled are denied such benefits.

House panel approves new building code, seeks structural resilience against climate change

The House Committee on Public Works and Highways on Thursday unanimously approved the proposed Philippine Building Act providing for stricter regulations in the construction and design of buildings to guarantee resilience against earthquake, flood, typhoons and other natural and man-made calamities.

MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

Chaired by Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona, the House panel consolidated 15 proposed legislative measures that sought a total overhaul of the existing but antiquated National Building Code.         

Addressing the destructive effects of climate change was among the principal considerations provided in the approved consolidated bill.        

Madrona said the bill to be recommended for plenary approval contains provisions for safety measures that will ensure stronger structural integrity of all buildings and shelters to withstand the worsening natural disasters hitting the country.           

“We have included in the bill the proposals from the United Architects of the Philippines and other similar organizations who are experts in the field of construction and engineering,” he explained.        

 According to Madrona the UAP sent a number of recommendations but not all were included in the bill.

“We cannot expect all recommendations to be included because some may be in conflict with the overall intention of the bill,” stressed Madrona.

Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto welcomed the committee’s decision to “put in place and adequately provide” measures that will address the effects of climate change and support the need for more environmental-friendly infrastructures.

“Those are the most important provisions we prioritized for inclusion in the bill,” Madrona assured Chatto.

Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando, author of House Bill 923, said building permit processes have to be “streamlined, distinguishing simple buildings from special buildings with commensurate requirements.”

“It is urgent for the Philippines go update our building regulations and standards in order to better safeguard life, health, property and public welfare, consistent with the principles of sustainable development,” said Fernando, whose family owns a construction firm.           

On the other hand, Quezon Rep. David C. Suarez, another principal author of the bill, said the measure will provide all buildings and structures a framework of minimum standards and requirements aimed at protecting life and property.      

“This act shall hold relevant stakeholders accountable in ensuring compliance with its provisions.  Moreover, this bill proposes to establish sustainability standards for government-owned buildings, mitigating any negative environmental, economic and social impacts,” the former Quezon governor stressed. 

Sangiao weighs in on possible Iniong-Zamboanga atomweight showdown

Photo from ONE Championship

Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao sees no problems if Gina Iniong faces fellow Filipino fighter Denice Zamboanga in the Circle soon.

Iniong, who just gave birth to newborn daughter Gianna Rose, expressed desire to participate in the upcoming world atomweight grand prix in ONE Championship.

That will pit the 31-year-old Iniong with some of the best female contenders, including Zamboanga, who currently sits at No. 1 in the division.

“We don’t say no to any fight offers from ONE. It won’t be the first time a Filipino will face a fellow Filipino. If they give Denice to Gina, then so be it,” said Sangiao.

“Gina has the maturity in the battle scene and in Team Lakay, we have that sense of always being positive. So if the match happens, we have high hopes for Gina.”

Before pregnancy, Iniong emerged victorious on her latest fight in January against Asha Roka of India to improve at 9-4 record.

Zamboanga, meanwhile, went undefeated in five fights since starting her professional mixed martial arts career in 2018.

After three straight wins in ONE Championship, the 23-year-old Zamboanga climbed up to being the No. 1 atomweight contender, next to reigning champion Angela Lee.

Read: Angela Lee to Denice Zamboanga: Earn the belt, ‘you don’t get it free’

But for the Team Lakay mentor, Zamboanga of the Marrok Force still has a long way to go.

“She (Denice) has had a few good wins in ONE. She has that potential, but I think she still needs more experience. With a little more experience, she can be very dangerous in this sport,” added Sangiao.

The first round of the atomweight grand prix is set early next year and the ultimate winner gets the chance to face Lee for the prestigious belt.

Bren’s Duckey on hilarious Aura-Onic bracket: ‘I just wanted to troll’

Photo from ONE Championship

Bren Esports coach Francis “Duckey” Glindro said he is just trolling around when he made his amusing picks in the live draft of the $100,000-ONE Esports Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Pro League Invitational (MPLI) on Wednesday night. 

Duckey, whose MPL-Philippines Season 6 champion Bren is drawn in Bracket B, drew hilarious reactions and memes when he selected Aura PH and Onic PH to go up against their Indonesian mother clubs Aura Fire and Onic ID. 

“No rationale behind the picks really. Just wanted to troll and let them face each other early on,” said Duckey in a brief message to the Manila Bulletin

The M1 World Championship-winning tactician said he wanted to choose Indonesian powerhouse Alter Ego but coach James Chen of Indonesian champ RRQ Hoshi grabbed them for Bracket A. 

“I was to pick Alter Ego but James picked them. So if you’re reading this James, I just wanted to let you know I hate you,” he joked. 

The three other Filipino teams were spread across the four brackets, boosting the country’s chances to rule the first MPLI which is arguably the biggest international MLBB tournament after the M1 last year. 

MPL-PH runner-up Smart Omega is set to tackle Indonesian side Genflix Aerowolf in Bracket A, with the winner taking on the victor between Alter Ego and M1 winner EVOS Legends. 

Third-place finisher Execration, which recently acquired two new players, is slated to battle Burmese runner-up Ronin Esports in Bracket D. Malaysia’s Orange Louvre and Singapore’s Evos SG will also tangle for a chance to face Myanmar’s titlist Burmese Ghouls. 

Blacklist International, now powered by the feared duo of Danerie James “Wise” Del Rosario and Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna, will square off with Singapore’s RSG in Bracket C which has MYSG winner Todak.

Indonesian teams Geek Fam and Bigetron Alpha will clash on the other side. 

Established by ONE Esports in collaboration with ML developer Moonton, the 20-team invitational tourney is slated on November 27 to December 6 and will be streamed via the Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and Youtube accounts of ONE Esports. 

DepEd admits error in a module that says people with tattoo are criminals

An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday confirmed that the module which associates having a tattoo with criminals is quality-assured by the Central Office (CO) and that an “erratum” has been issued related to it.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio told the Manila Bulletin that the said module – which demonizes people with tattoos – was “CO quality assured.” He added that the DepEd has already issued an “erratum on this.”  

The photo of the module was posted by singer Lea Salonga on Facebook last Tuesday, Nov. 17. She expressed dismay over the learning material which implies that having a tattoo might be a symbol of being a criminal.

“Okay, someone would need to tell me if this thing is really ok’d by the DepEd. And if so, what kind of BS is this?” an irate Salonga asked.

As shown in the screenshot of the module posted by Salonga, a multiple choice question is asking the learners to determine if: “Ang tattoo ay simbolo ng ________. A. pagiging kriminal, B. pagkaalipin, C. kagitingan at kagandahan, at D. pagiging mababa ng katayuan sa lipunan.” Based on the answer key provided in the module, the right answer was “Letter A.”

San Antonio acknowledged that the answer key was “wrong” and that an erratum has already been issued related to this. He noted that while the specific module was quality assured by the DepEd Central Office, there are still items that “might have been overlooked.”  

This is not the first time that Salonga called out errors found in modules. In October, she also pointed out on social media an illustration showing an owl but was labeled as an “ostrich.”

In a separate post last month, director and film producer Jose “Joey” Javier Reyes also lamented the state of the country’s education system over a module asking students to study rhetoric using the national language.

As a matter of policy, San Antonio said that the errors found in Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) under distance/blended learning are rectified as soon as possible. “Content errors found inappropriate shall be rectified via an issuance from the concerned Regional Director if the SLM is used in the whole region,” he explained.

Without  face-to-face classes this school year, students are under home-based learning through various learning delivery modalities such as printed or digital modular; online distance learning; and radio or television-based instructions.

Regardless of the modality/ies chosen, DepEd said that SLMs remain the “backbone” of distance learning and covers the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs).

However, DepEd admitted that “due to time constraints,” there are some SLMs that did not pass through quality assurance of the CO. “Efforts are to be exerted by the teachers to clarify such errors in succeeding lesson materials or while communicating with the learners and parents,” San Antonio said.

In response to numerous reports about errors found in learning materials, the agency launched its “DepEd Error Watch” initiative last October. It makes use of three platforms for reporting which will validate errors for immediate and proper correction.

Concerns on modules may be reported through 
email: errorwatch@deped.gov.ph; text and Viber message: 0961-6805334; Facebook Messenger: DepEd Error Watch (@depederrorwatch) and Work chat DepEd Error Watch: 
https://deped.workplace.com/groups/616392985671470/) using the hashtag #depederrorwatch when submitting reports.