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A veteran lawmaker has lauded the Bureau of Customs or BOC for donating almost 4,000 laptop computers that were seized three years ago to the Department of Education or DepEd.


Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian thanked the BOC for its move as it emphasized the need for more government support that can address gaps in education.

“This donation of some 4,000 laptop computers to DepEd will be a big boost to the computer literacy program of the government, especially to public school students who come mostly from poor families who have no access to computers or the Internet,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian, a member of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, issued the statement after BOC declared the seizure of a total of 3,915 entry-level ASUS laptops.

The laptops were seized from consignee ORZA Marketing for undervaluation and misdeclaration in December 2011.

Authorities added that the gadgets were said to be unsuitable for business use, prompting the BOC to donate them to DepEd’s Computer Training and Educators and Resource for Students program.

This program aims to bring access to computer technology to more than 20 million learners and more than 600,000 teachers in 46,603 elementary and secondary schools nationwide

Gatchalian said local government units can do a lot in raising the computer literacy among students of public elementary and high schools, particularly in the provinces where computer and Internet access are hard to come by.

Gatchalian cited his experience as former mayor of Valenzuela City, wherein he espoused the philosophy of education as a vehicle “to lift our fellow men out of poverty and help them live fuller, happier lives.”

“From P204.08 million in 2008, our city invested P306.7 million or 15.3 percent of our P2.01-billion budget on education in 2012, even higher than the UN standard as well as the share of education in the GDP (gross domestic product) in 2007,” Gatchalian said.

“We built 659 classrooms from 2004 to 2013 for daycare, primary, and secondary school levels. Because of this, student-classroom ratio for elementary schools improved to 1:42 in 2011 from1:44 in 2004, while for high school it fell sharply to 1:44 from1:52,” he added.

Known for his pro-education advocacy in the House of Representatives, Gatchalian pointed out that bigger investments in education helped Valenzuela City rank first in all of Metro Manila in the National Achievement Test for grade school for the school year 2010-2011. The city also placed fourth in the said examination, this time for high school, for school year 2011-2012.

The Valenzuela City government during the nine years that Gatchalian was mayor also added 72 classrooms to the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela and Valenzuela Polytechnic College.

“We increased the number of college scholars under the Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholarship Program to 164 in 2012 from 28 in 2004. We also raised the yearly stipend to P30,000 from P20,000 since 2009,” Gatchalian said. (Monica Cantilero)