Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that no face-to-face classes should be conducted until a vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available.
“For me, no physical classes na mangyayari. No face-to-face learning po pag walang vaccine. Importante po ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino,” Go said the Committeo on Health hearing, which he chairs, on Thursday.
Go said the government should assess the health situation first before the authorities decide on the schedule of class opening.
“As chairman ng Committee of Health, we will take this one step at a time so that we can slowly but surely protect the safety of the students,” he said.
“Let’s assess first what happens on the next coming days kahit ayaw natin maantala ang klase ng mga bata, importante po sa atin na safe po sila. ‘Yan ang unang konsiderasyon po natin ang kalusugan ng ating mga anak.”
In the same hearing, League of Provinces of the Philippines chair and Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr.; Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines president and Quirino Governor Dakila Carlo E. Cua; and League of Municipalities of the Philippines national president and Narvacan Mayor Luis Chavit Singson also asked the committee to reconsider the opening of the school year, slated 24 August based on Inter-Agency Task Force’s approval of the Department of Education’s recommendation.
“‘Yung social distancing in schools na pinag-uusapan, to be honest, kung sabihin nga ng teacher na ‘keep quiet at walang magsasalita’, mahirap na patuparin sa mga elementary school, can you expect that to happen for children to know na walang tapikan or hawakan ng kamay, walang playtime,” Cua said.
He suggested DepEd be more flexible in complying with the 203 required days for a school year, saying shortening the school calendar should be considered given the situation the Philippines and the whole world are in.
“For this year alone, we can be more flexible. Though Deped is doing its best… Napipilitan ang DepEd na i-maintain ang 203 days minimum school days ng mga children, pipilitin nila yan whether it is at home or in the classroom,” he said.
Velasco also supported the deferment of the opening of classes saying the local government units must be sure of the health situation in their areas first before giving the schools the go-signal to resume classes.
“In my humble opinion, there is a proposal to start the classes on August 24, in my view po, medyo maaga pa po yun. Baka bandang November or December or pwede namang January,” Velasco said.
For Singson, it is important for children to survive this pandemic as education will be worthless if the children are infected.
“Pag-aralan po mabuti dahil po baka ma-compromise po sila, so mas importante po yung survival kaysa education. Aanhin mo yung education, mamamatay naman yung mga bata,” he pointed out.