Driven by its mission to extend a helping hand in strengthening the advocacy of literacy, the Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Incorporation which has been one of the reliable and longest-standing partners of the Literacy Coordinating Council—being the official benefactor of cash prizes for the Special Award of Excellence in Literacy category of the National Literacy Awards, met with the LCC Secretariat last March 22, 2023 (Wednesday) to fortify its partnership and discuss existing and future areas of collaboration.
“We believe in multi-stakeholder collaboration to further promote inclusive education and literacy in the country, and we focus our resources on these advocacies among others,” shared Mr. Jonathan D. Batangan, Executive Director of the CLFI, during the meeting. The said meeting was attended by Mr. Michael Joseph A. Torne, Mr. Enrico R. Mendoza, and Ms. Marikka P. Mampusti.
The LCC, being a coordinating body, puts forth on establishing meaningful and sustainable partnerships not only with government agencies but also with private organizations that relentlessly work on empowering and uplifting the lives of Filipinos through literacy. Being its main advocacy program, the National Literacy Awards underscores the importance of literacy in nation-building. It serves as an avenue for local government units and nongovernment organizations to have their best practices in literacy documented in the hopes that these will be institutionalized and replicated.
The CLFI commits to sustaining its advocacy on education and literacy and leads the private sector to intensify the support to LCC and continue to help the Department of Education in recognizing the award-winning initiatives of all LGUs, NGOs, and Civil Society Organizations. The LCC is thrilled to further strengthen the partnership between the two parties which will manifest in the 2024 National Literacy Awards.
Borne out of their intention to contribute to improving the literacy situation in the country by designing a reading program called “Bawat Isa Makakabasa,” the 1986 Summerhouse Publishing, an organization with a deep sense of commitment not only to Content Development but far greater the meaning and development solutions which would carry value towards transformation and nation building, extended an opportunity to the Department of Education to implement the said reading program.
“The “Bawat Isa Makakabasa” is a reading program that supports the call to increase the literacy rate of Filipino learners and emphasizes the significant role of education in nation-building through the establishment of public libraries and reading centers in all local government units,” Ms. Rellyn M. Nojadero-Luces, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the 1986 Summerhouse Publishing shared during the meeting.
The program is responsive to the Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP), a national program that addresses the thrust of the Department of Education (DepEd) to make every child a reader at his/her grade level. It is designed to equip elementary pupils with strategic reading and writing skills to make them independent young readers and writers; and “Hamon: Bawat Bata Bumabasa (3Bs Initiative),” as well as the Department’s flagship agenda—MATATAG: “Bansang Makabata, Batang Makabansa.”The program is designed for learners across ages and grade levels—including Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd).
The exploratory meeting with 1986 Summerhouse Publishing was attended to by various offices from the DepEd – Central Office, namely the Literacy Coordinating Council Secretariat, External Partnerships Service, Bureau of Learning Delivery, and Bureau of Curriculum Development to ensure that the requirements needed to facilitate the implementation of the program in full swing will be set. This objective was achieved by the 1986 Summerhouse Publishing by sharing the history, background, and goals of the publishing house, having a full demonstration of the “Bawat Isa Makakabasa” reading program, explaining the Quality Management procedures of the organization, showing a preview of the Learning Management System (LMS) platform intended for the implementation of the program, and explaining their Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
The meeting ended meaningfully by identifying the ways forward to formally establish a partnership between DepEd and 1986 Summerhouse Publishing. Additionally, to ensure alignment of the program with the curriculum standards and obtain quality assurance of the resources to be used in implementing the program, technical assistance coming from the Bureau of Curriculum Development, Bureau of Learning Delivery, and Bureau of Learning Resources will be provided.
Lastly, the Literacy Coordinating Council, through its Secretariat, commits to advocating for the program on the ground by introducing it to the local government units that have local literacy councils and are active partners of the Council in universalizing literacy in the country. The LCC, together with the DepEd, looks forward to building a partnership with organizations like 1986 Summerhouse Publishing that are eager to improve the literacy skills of Filipino learners. This goes without saying that it is the Council’s privilege to share the vision and journey to work toward the goal of universalizing literacy in the country.
On October 13, 2022, the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) Secretariat joined the Learning Session on Mental Health for Central Office (CO) Personnel at DepEd NCR RELC in Marikina City, in celebration of the 2022 National Mental Health Week. Spearheaded by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), in collaboration with the Bureau of Human Resource and Organizational Development-Employee Welfare Division (BHROD-EWD) and the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), the said activity catered to CO staff representing their respective offices, bureaus and/or services. The objectives of this learning session was to strengthen the understanding and knowledge of the DepEd CO staff on mental health and its related services, realize the importance of mental health in the education sector, raise advocates for mental health, and emphasize the integration of mental health wellness across the programs and projects within DepEd.
The relative learning session started with a mindfulness activity facilitated by the DRRMS followed by the Opening Remarks of Ms. Ronilda R. Co, Director IV of DRRMS. During her talk, she elaborated on the mental health-related supports that the DRRMS has been providing especially onset of the pandemic, such as conduct of psychosocial supports, provision of technical assistance to selected DepEd offices in establishing/managing mental health programs, and forging of partnerships with The Cultural Center of the Philippines, Psychological Association of the Philippines, Unilab, Inc., Save the Children, among others.
Dir. Co also stressed that the heads of offices provide the visions and strategies but it is the employees who actually work on them. “The office can only go as far as the employees can go. There is a need to take care of them,” as she dubbed. She also added that resting should not only happen when one feels exhausted but must always be mindful of. She ended her speech by reminding everyone that in everything that is done, the heart should always be present, and not just the brain.
After the Opening Program, the participants listened and learned a lot from the resource speakers. In the morning session, Dr. Joffrey E. Quiring, talked about the Mental Health in the Philippines while Mr. Erickson A. Amion shared valuable concepts on The Importance of Mental Health in Education Sector. Meanwhile, Dr. Dinah Palmera P. Nadera tackled the Case Studies about Mental Health Education, followed by Ms. Dhanika Austine K. Garcia, ending the afternoon session with a Mental Health Advocacy. Topics pondered on during the learning session were the definition of mental health, stressors and their effects to mental health, signs of mental health problems, situation of mental health in schools, ways to improve mental health and their benefits, case studies concerning mental health wellness and mental health advocacy.
After the plenary sessions, the participants proceeded to the break-out session where each group came up with a poster in respond to the questions: 1) What is a Mentally Healthy DepEd ? and 2) How can the CO personnel advocate for it in the Department? Afterwards, all five groups were given the opportunity to share their respective outputs.
At the end of the day, Dr. Co expressed her gratitude to the Technical Working Group and reiterated to the group the importance and impact of checking on people, specifically one’s staff, because it also adds to the perspective of the whole team. She promoted collaboration among the participants and reminded everyone to always practice compassion to oneself and to others.
Before the participants parted ways, they were asked of their commitments on promoting and sustaining sound mental health, and were instructed to put them into sticky notes before finally posting them in the wall. The group understood that the last activity meant that everyone needed each other’s back in fulfilling their commitments. After all, we are all in this together.
The LCC Secretariat (LCCS) regularly responds to various invitations from DepEd offices and all other literacy stakeholders to extend its support towards achieving literacy for all, including the mental health wellness. The LCCS joins in the promotion and spreading of awareness on mental health wellness among all Filipinos. By attending in such activities, the Council gains wider perspective and insights, especially coming from the lived experiences at the grassroots level that are essential in coming up with policy recommendations beneficial to the communities.
On October 12, 2022, Mandaluyong Elementary School (MES) launched the Project Reading Exposé or Project REX, a community-based literacy program developed in support of the DepEd Schools Division Office of Mandaluyong’s MandaBasa program, implemented in partnership with the city government of Mandaluyong. Project REX is a reading literacy campaign which aims to reach out and provide appropriate literacy interventions to slow readers and non-readers aged 6 to 12 years old, initially within the community of Brgy. Poblacion. Volunteer teachers, parents, and barangay officials will work together in this initiative.
This project is an enhanced version of the Kariton Klasrum, a program MES successfully rolled out from 2015 to 2019 that made possible for many out-of-school and street children to go back to school.
The LCC Secretariat had a privilege in sharing with the program attendees the Standards for Exemplary Community-based Literacy Programs and Engagement developed by the Council in partnership with the Philippine Normal University.
May all education stakeholders continue to work together to ensure that zero illiteracy in the Philippines is achieved.
On October 3, 2022, Dr. Heidi B. Macahilig, Associate Dean and Representative of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) to the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), presented the National Literacy Framework (NLF) in the 15th National Convention on Statistics (NCS) held on October 3-5,2022 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City. The NLF is the output of the research study conducted by the LCC in partnership with the PNU.
With the theme “Boosting the Country’s Recovery with Informed Decisions, Better Policies,” the said convention emphasizes the importance of crafting strong and responsive socioeconomic policies based on relevant and reliable statistics for the continuous pursuit of the country’s recovery from the adverse impacts of the pandemic. The objectives of the event are: 1) to provide a forum for exchanging ideas and experiences in the field of statistics and for discussing recent statistical developments and prevailing issues and problems of the Philippines Statistical System (PSS), and 2) to elicit the cooperation and support of statisticians and professionals in related fields from the government, academe and private sector towards a more responsive statistical system. The country’s efforts towards recovery jumpstarted with the adoption of strong responsive socioeconomic policies based on relevant and accurate statistics.
The PSS, by virtue of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Board Resolution No. 01, Series of 2017-073 “Approving the Conduct of the National Convention on Statistics Every Three Years,” conducts the NCS every three years. It is the country’s biggest convergence of statisticians, statistical practitioners, academicians, researchers, students, and media, both from the government and private sectors. The said event included plenary sessions, invited/contributed paper sessions, panel discussions, statistics trainings as well as the Statistical Information Management Exhibit (SIMEX) – a commercial exhibition of the latest software, hardware and other products for statistical information and management.
The NCS has always been a provider of fora for developing new and strengthening partnerships among government agencies, private sector, media, academe, and international organizations. Meanwhile, for this year, the 15th NCS coincides with the opening ceremony of the 33rd National Statistics Month (NSM) dated October 3, 2022.
Through this avenue, the NLF was introduced to various literacy policy makers and stakeholders and hopes to ignite discussions on elevating the quality of literacy in the country in spite of Filipino communities’ diverse profiles and needs especially now, in the face of a crisis. With the development of the NLF, implications on the definition of literacy being used by PSA’s Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), including the crafting of survey questions may be considered.
The Council continually strives to strengthen its research and development work which aims to come up with evidence-based, relevant, and responsive policies addressing the current literacy needs of the country. Through this, the Council will be able to also develop strategies, programs, and initiatives on literacy education that will in turn help produce 21st century lifelong learners and citizens.
On August 11, 2022, the LCC Secretariat (LCCS) in collaboration with DepEd’s External Partnerships Service, turned over several boxes of donations from Universal Robina Corporation to Pasay City West High School (PCWHS) and to Pasay City’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) Community Learning Center. The donation was handed over by Mr. Enrico R. Mendoza, Head of the LCCS to Ms. Almeda Macaranas, Assistant Chair for Brigada Eskwela, and Ms. Phia Diola, Teacher from PCWHS, as well as to Mr. John Errol Ruiz and Ms. Jomarie Correo, ALS Teachers from Pasay ALS CLC. The said turn-over ceremonies were held during the conduct of the onsite validation of the LCC to Pasay City LGU for being one of the finalists under the Outstanding Local Government Unit-Highly Urbanized City Category of the 2022 National Literacy Awards.
The said donation is one of the many manifestations of forged and active partnerships of DepEd with private sectors and other literacy stakeholders. This gesture is done to express utmost appreciation to the dedicated and hardworking teachers and other community partners in ensuring literacy is promoted and sustained all through out the year, especially now that the opening of classes is just around the corner.
On June 13-17, 2022, the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) through its National Literacy Awards (NLA) Board of Judges (BOJ) for Special Award of Excellence in Literacy (SAEL) category conducted an onsite validation with SULADS Philippines in Valencia City, Bukidnon.
Upon the arrival of the LCC validation team, Ptr. Ephraim Pitogo of SULADS, in collaboration with DepEd Regional Office X and Malaybalay City Schools Division Office prepared a simple welcome program at Loiza’s Pavilion in Malaybalay City where an initial presentation of SULADS’ literacy programs was showcased. It also featured sharing of inspiring testimonies from various groups, including program organizers, implementors, partners, and beneficiaries. On the next day, an Opening Conference was organized at Mountain View College in Valencia City, Bukidnon. This allowed the validation team to get to know SULADS’ literacy programs, people, and processes up close. During the said activity, deaf learners, Indigenous Peoples (IP) learners, selected DepEd focal persons, SULADS key officials and volunteers were present to share their experiences while being actively involved in the discussion during the Open Forum. Aside from the Opening Conference, the LCC Validation Team also spent the rest of the week by conducting ocular visits to some of the sites where SULADS’ literacy programs are being facilitated such as the SULADS Deaf Literacy Center located in Malaybalay City and SULADS Comprehensive High School for the LUMADS in Lumintao, Quezon. The LCC validation team was also able to experience the challenges yet fulfilling hike that SULADS teacher volunteers would normally do when visiting Barangay Lumintao. Indeed, the richness of the culture, the warm welcome and hunger for literacy of the IP communities on the mountaintop would equal to none, especially after hearing all their stories of literacy and its impact to their lives.
Ms. Susan M. Carandang from the National Economic and Development Authority served as one of the BOJs for the SAEL category of NLA. Other members of the BOJ are Mr. Addie T. Unsi from The Asia Foundation and Atty. Katryn Cadiente from the Office of Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian. The BOJ members were accompanied by the LCC Secretariat (LCCS) staff composed of Mr. Enrico R. Mendoza, Ms. Czarina D. Abellonar and Ms. Jem Beryline S. Bualat.
The LCCS would like to take this opportunity to extend its gratitude to SULADS Philippines through Ptr. Pitogo and his team, DepEd RO X, the IP communities, partners, and other individuals who actively participated in and assisted the validation team during the entire duration of the field visit.
The final list of NLA winners, inclusive of the SAEL and regular NLA Search, will be revealed during the conduct of the 2022 NLA Awarding Ceremonies. Final details on the said upcoming event will be announced through a formal communication and through the LCC’s official website at https://lcc.deped.gov.ph and Facebook page at: https://facebook.com/LiteracyCoordinatingCouncil.
On June 27, 2022, the Council convened for the 150th LCC Meeting held at the BCD Conference Room, DepEd Complex in Pasig City. Mr. Zaldy I. Masangkay, Division Chief of Bureau of Local Government Development, representative of Dir. Annaliza Bonagua of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), presided over the meeting, DILG being the Co-Chairperson of the Council.
One of the highlights of the said meeting was the approval of the LCC Resolution on the Adoption of the National Literacy Framework, an output of the study conducted by the research team of Dr. Heidi Macahilig of the Philippine Normal University (PNU). With the Council’s issuance of this Resolution, additional reference and evidence-based data and information are now made available for the revision and enhancement of the Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) survey tool, K-12 curriculum education, teacher education curriculum, and design of curriculum for localized and contextualized literacy advocacies and activities at the grassroots level. (Link to the NLF’s Technical Report: https://lcc.deped.gov.ph/NLFCopy)
Meanwhile, the Council commended the LCC Secretariat for its competence, effectiveness, and efficiency in facilitating the conduct of LCC programs and projects implemented during the first two quarters of the year despite limited work force, funds, and other challenges met during the pandemic. They also expressed their high hopes on the success of upcoming activities of the Council for the remaining quarters of 2022, and beyond.
As for the National Literacy Awards, updates in the conduct of the regional search were discussed, as well as the latest information on the onsite validation of entries for the Special Award of Excellence in Literacy category.
The 150th LCC Meeting was attended by Mr. Zaldy I. Masangkay of the DILG, Ms. Josephine L. Babaran of Philippine Information Agency, Ms. Susan M. Carandang of National Economic and Development Authority, Dr. Heidi B. Macahilig of PNU, and Mr. Enrico R. Mendoza, Ms. Czarina D. Abellonar, Ms. Jem Beryline S. Bualat, Ms. Marikka P. Mampusti, Mr. Ryan Rondrigo, Ms. Jonnabel D. Escartin, Mr. Kean Osmund F. Aquino, Ms. Ma. Teresita C. Manlolo and Mr. Wilfredo A. Catangui of the LCC Secretariat.
Literacy Coordinating Council meetings are held every quarter of the year and the next meeting is set to be conducted in September.
While facilitating the conduct of the onsite validation for the 2022 National Literacy Awards in Region X, the LCC Secretariat had a privilege of having a brief visit to the Malaybalay City ALS CLC, the 2020-2021 National Winner of the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Curriculum and Instruction or SAFE CI. Not only the CLC is award-winning and highly commendable, but also the ALS teachers, Division and Regional ALS focal persons, as well as their DepEd officials. Congratulations! We sincerely appreciate your outstanding contributions to the universalization of literacy in the Philippines.
Pursuant to its legal mandate to assist in identifying successful management schemes of literacy programs, adopt measures, and boost research and development work in literacy by government agencies and non-governmental organizations involved in literacy work, the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) has launched the National Literacy Awards in 1994 which gives out award and recognitions to outstanding local government units and non-government organizations that carried out best practices which helped in alleviating poverty and providing livelihood opportunities, among others.
In 2009, the LCC has decided to give out for the first time the highest literacy award entitled Special Award of Excellence in Literacy (SAEL) that is given to Hall of Fame awardees—first placers of the regular search for outstanding local government units and literacy programs who maintained their ranks for three years.
Aside from the national recognition and plaques the SAEL awardees have received from LCC, the Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation Inc. (CLFI), a non-stock, non-profit charitable represented by its President, Dr. Jean Henri D. Lhuillier has went above and beyond by serving as the official benefactor of cash component of said highest literacy award. This has paved way in cementing the partnership between the LCC and CLFI in its pursuit to universalize literacy in the country through the National Literacy Awards.
At the present time and in line with the preparation for the 2022 National Literacy Awards, the LCC and CLFI has revisited its long-standing partnership and has come into an agreement on the sponsorship of the LCC for the awardees of the Special Award of Excellence in Literacy leading to the provision of the CLFI of a total of Php300,000 for the designated recipient/s of the SAEL category for the 2022 NLA.
The LCC takes this opportunity to sincerely express its gratitude and appreciation for the unfaltering support of the CLFI to the endeavors of the Council. Beyond the sponsorship, the LCC believes that partners like CLFI plays a pivotal role in intensifying efforts to universalize literacy in the country. The LCC would also like to seize this chance and invite potential partners to heed to the call for more allies in rallying with the LCC in the universalization of literacy. Should you be interested, kindly reach out to LCC through firstname.lastname@example.org or through its Facebook page, Literacy Coordinating Council.
Now, more than ever, we need all the support that we can get as we all strive to build a better Philippines by creating and sustaining literate environments.