DepEd to present school opening recommendation to COVID-19 task force in May
In this undated file photo, students gather on the first day of school.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file
DepEd to present school opening recommendation to COVID-19 task force in May
( - April 24, 2020 - 11:10am

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 1:37 p.m.) — The Department of Education will present its recommendation on the opening of the next school year to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the first week of May.

The STAR quoted Education Secretary Leonor Briones as saying this, after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte approved IATF’s recommendations, which include moving the next schools opening in some areas to September.

Roque said in an interview with radio dzBB Friday morning that Duterte “adopted in full” the IATF’s recommendation that includes moving schools opening in areas under General Community Quarantine to September.

Acting NEDA general Karl Chua also clarified that Roque only presented recommendations for consideration after they conducted a health study. But the Education department will still present to the task force on the matter.

IATF recommendation

Roque, in a taped address aired earlier, said the IATF recommended “100% closure” for areas deemed as “moderate to low-risk,” or the localities placed under GCQ.

READ: General community quarantine to be implemented in moderate, low-risk areas

“Iyong option po sa low-risk to moderate areas na buksan by industry, consider for 100 percent closure maski po low to moderate risk consider for 100 percent closure pa rin dahil po ang mga transmitters ay kabataan mula edad 0 to 20. Lahat ng eskwelahan, i-consider po ang late opening sa Setyembre except po sa online learning,” he said.

(The option for low-risk to moderate areas to open by industry, consider for 100 percent closure, even low to moderate risk, consider for 100 percent closure still. Because the transmitters are the youth ages 0 to 20, all schools, consider late opening in September except in online learning.)

The higher education institutions in these localities “may continue to finish academic year and issue credential to students,” Roque said.

It is unclear whether schools in localities still under and recently placed in Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) are included in this recommendation.

Republic Act 7977 or the act on lengthening of school calendar states that opening of classes should be made between the first week of June and the last day of August.

Briones earlier said the department is conducting nationwide consultations, including business partners and education experts, on when the next school year will start. Trends point to an opening on August 4.

But Briones said the IATF assessment will affect DepEd’s moves as the country continues to apply stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan previously said in a radio interview that the department is eyeing to utilize information communication technology platforms for learners. This can be done through television and radio.

The Education secretary also said they are looking into “alternative delivery modes” that do not require face to face interactions among students and teachers. — Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 23, 2020 - 10:43am

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill that grants him special powers to address the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines. Bookmark this page for updates. 

November 23, 2020 - 10:43am

Cabinet members are flying to Davao City for the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.

Part of the meeting, where the president addresses the people, is usually aired on Monday nights.

September 20, 2020 - 1:38pm

In the sweltering heat and humidity, 31-year-old Caitlyn Tojanes grumbles about having to wear a face shield over her mask as she waits in line for her bus in the Philippine capital Manila.

"It's uncomfortable. Combined with the long queues it means we get to work already tired and bathed in sweat," said Tojanes, whose commute involves three buses and takes several hours.

But she is resigned to the new normal in the Philippines, where it is now compulsory to wear both masks and plastic shields in indoor public spaces and on public transport to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"With Covid, it's up to the people to maintain discipline," said Tojanes, who works as a store manager in the sprawling capital of 12 million where most of the country's infections have been recorded. — AFP

September 16, 2020 - 1:27pm

The government should prioritize buying locally-made Personal Protective Equipment, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto says.

"Not all of the things we need today should be sourced from China, even if it is the world’s factory," Recto says in a press statement.
"What we can manufacture locally, let’s go for it, because doing so will ramp up manufacturing that creates jobs for our people."

He says a coalition of garment manufacturers has committed “an army of 10,000 sewers” ready to go into the production of protective gowns and masks. 

September 11, 2020 - 7:50pm

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Bayanihan 2 bill into law on Friday. 

Bayanihan 2, which seeks to allocate P165.5 billion to the government’s pandemic war chest and to economic revival programs, was ratified by the two chambers of Congress late last month.

August 31, 2020 - 12:05pm

Sen. Risa Hontiveros calls on the government to buy more locally-made personal protective equipment to help protect health workers and also help local manufacturers and businesses.

"Hindi kailangang maging martir ng mga health workers natin. Even six months into this pandemic, ensuring adequate protection for them continues to be a problem.  Too many doctors and nurses have died in the line of duty. We have to better ensure that every health worker in every city or province has access to effective and affordable PPE," she says in a statement.

Hontiveros has filed a resolution for the Senate to look into how the Bayanihan PPE Project, a government initiative for local PPE manufacturing, has been doing. The initiative was launched to address tight PPE supply early in the pandemic.

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