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US Asst. Secretary of State commends digital project by Vibal, P&G, and Samsung

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PASIG CITY, Manila – Creating opportunities that allow every child to have access to education and technological tools that enhance learning, should be promoted universally to narrow the digital divide in the Philippines.

This was stated by US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez at the recent e.Studyante Training Session held at Oranbo Public Elementary School in Pasig City. Hon. Fernandez was the guest of speaker invited to the event held in partnership between Procter & Gamble (P&G), Samsung Philippines, and Vibal Publishing House, Inc., which was represented by Vibal Group Chair Esther A. Vibal and President Gaspar A. Vibal.

P&G spearheads the award-winning program that aims to deploy one million netbook PCs to public schools in the Philippines by the year 2035. Samsung Philippines provided the tablet devices, while Vibal was tapped to deployed the e-textbook content for the use of the beneficiary schools.

To date, the program has handed out more than 800 laptops to four public schools in Luzon, said Ms. Jia Salindong, Country Marketing Manager for P&G Philippines. Oranbo Public Elementary School is actually the first recipient for 2012, receiving a total of 150 Samsung netbook computers.

After the initial teacher training conducted last year, the program organized another event for the student training, made more special with the attendance of the US Assistant Secretary of State. The Hon. Fernandez said that he was delighted to witness the event and expressed willingness to help improve the “very special bond” between the US and the Philippines through projects such as e.Studyante.

Oranbo Elementary School Principal Ms. Emma Macasiray also acknowledged the collaboration between P&G, Vibal, and Samsung. “From the 68 teachers and 1,048 students of Oranbo Elementary School, our hearfelt thanks to everyone from P&G, Vibal, Robinsons, and Samsung, for choosing our school to be one of the beneficiaries of the e.Studyante program,” she said.

For its part, Vibal has committed its digital interactive textbooks and its pioneering e-reading platform called Vibe Reader, to project e.Studyante, to further engage public school students and allow them to experience 21st-century learning. This was much-appreciated by Hon. Fernandez, who cited the project's capacity to promote values and education.

Vibal is considered as the pioneer in tablet-based education in the country, having installed18,000 digital textbooks on 8,000 tablets for schoolyear 2012-2013. The company is likewise extending its commitment to promote tablet education to public schools by establishing strategic partnerships, such as with P&G for the e.Studyante project, and with Congressman Angelo Palmones under the AGHAM Party list tablet project with Los Banos National High School.