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Briones: Photos of teachers on rooftop reaching for signal are fake

/ 11:14 PM October 09, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The viral photos showing teachers apparently seeking for internet connection and data signal as they sit on a rooftop are fake, according to Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

Briones explained during an interview with One News on Friday that the photos appeared to be straight out of a play or a musical, where the teachers are supposedly in proper blocking for them to be seen properly.

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The Department of Education (DepEd) official was referring to teachers from the Sto. Niño National High School in Batangas City, who posed for photos to complain about the struggles they face as teachers.  The photos, posted by ABS-CBN, indicated though that the photos were merely dramatization of the grievances.

“Then on the day of school itself, there are mga fake photos na lumabas, hindi naman sa inyo, na klarong naka-pose para galing sa chorus line, na sabay-sabay nagre-raise ng mga kamay, nagtitingin sa camera, fully made-up,” Briones told One News’ The Chiefs.

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(Then on the day of school itself, there are fake photos that circulated over social media, where it is clear that the teachers posed for photos looking like they were from a chorus line.  All of them raised their hands in coordination, fully made-up.)

She further noted that it is impossible not to have phone reception in the said place, as several cell sites have been set up in the area.

“And also in that town, ang daming cell sites.  Ang daming malalaking cell sites.  Kasi sabi walang ano, connectivity.  Kung walang connectivity paano napadala ‘yong mga photos na ‘yon?” she asked.

(And also in that town, there are a lot of cell sites.  There are many large cell sites.  They are saying there is no connectivity.  If they didn’t have connectivity, how were the able to send the photos?)

“At saka kitang-kita naman na parang chorus line,” she added.

(And you can clearly see that they looked like a chorus line.)

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced education modes to revert to distance and blended learning schemes — mainly to avoid local coronavirus transmissions — a surge of complaints were observed in just the first few days of classes.

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Despite the photos being only meant to dramatize the teachers’ complaints, there are actual problems with internet connections encountered by several educators and instructors.

In one specific scenario, a DepEd Facebook page itself shared the story of Mathematics teacher Efren Cabotage who had to climb a mountain just to have access to wireless internet.  There was also the issue of teachers camping by the road last June just to get a good data connection.

While blended learning — or the use of learning modules from DepEd — is possible for those with weak internet signals, both parents and teachers note that it still requires going online for a time, aside from the various difficulties that students and instructors will encounter.

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Education, DepEd, distance education, distance learning, Education, fake photos, GCQ, general community quarantine, Internet connection, lockdown, modular learning, nCoV update, online classes, Philippine news updates, Secretary Leonor Briones, Teachers
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