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DILG urges LGUs: Prohibit videoke, 'distracting noises' during online class
Undated file photo shows parent Marivic Singco attending an orientation session on blended learning while tending to her baby as her other children take part in online classes using phones and tablets at their home in Baseco Compound, Manila.
The STAR/Krizjohn Rosales

DILG urges LGUs: Prohibit videoke, 'distracting noises' during online class

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 7, 2020 - 6:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — The interior department joined police leadership Wednesday in urging local governments to enact ordinances prohibiting videoke and "other loud, distracting noises" during online classes as students adjust to blended learning which officially began Monday.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Interior chief Eduardo Año said that loud sounds during online class hours and independent study periods can distract pupils and students alike from concentrating on their activities "now that every home in the country has been turned into an extension of the school."

“As disciplined and responsible parents and citizens, let us help our students to provide quiet and peaceful surroundings so that they can study well in their homes,” Año's statement read in Filipino.

"It is already hard enough for students to adjust from normal classroom sessions to distance and blended learning without being distracted by the noise coming from the neighborhood, also urging vehicle owners to avoid unnecessary blowing of their car horns during school hours as these will also distract the learners," he also said. 

Similar ordinances have already been used in the past as a basis to further intensify police presence in barangays, allowing police commanders to impose crackdowns and later, harsher penalties on violators—a strategy the Joint Task Force COVID Shield employed after it encouraged local governments to craft ordinances banning alcohol, loitering and smoking among others. 

The PNP is an attached bureau under the DILG. 

In an earlier statement, the JTF CV Shield announced that it would also be sending out more cops—a directive the task force said was "buoyed by viral videos" and meant to "minimize the unnecessary noise especially coming from quarantine violators," though it remains unclear how having more cops in public areas can make communities more conducive for online classes.

Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan, the chief of the Philippine National Police, also earlier issued a directive to police commanders to “coordinate with their respective LGUs to either enact or modify their existing local ordinances against the use of karaoke machines and other activities that create unnecessary noise that would disturb the students in their study at home.”

With cases of aggressive enforcement by police officers piling up, rights groups and medical collectives alike have criticized the ongoing strategy of mounting police presence as unscientific and indicative of a de-facto martial law in the country, though the task force has asserted that heavy police presence is the medical solution required in a pandemic. 

READ: Eleazar hits violators, tells Filipinos: Don't make it hard for gov't to protect you

When the education department first brought up the prospect of blended learning, it was met with concerns over the expensive costs and availability of gadgets and internet connections, and not the distraction brought about by noise. 

'Task forces mulling proposal to allow students in internet shops'

Aside from videoke parties, the former military general urged local chief executives to ban noisy illegal gambling activities like tupada, bingo, betting stations, drinking sprees "and other forms of loud noises to avoid disturbing students and to prevent mass gatherings that maybe lead to community transmission of the COVID-19 virus."

He added that “security, safety, and other measures that the PNP used to implement for the schools should be expanded to include the entire barangay as part of the expanded learning space amid the continued threat of COVID-19.”

In a separate statement later Wednesday, the JTF CV Shield disclosed that both the National Task Force against COVID-19, of which Año sits as vice chairman, and the Inter-Agency Task Force are set to discuss the proposal to allow poor students in internet shops. 

The existing prohibition, the task force said, was meant to be a health safety measure amid the coronavirus pandemic, though Año said he would bring up the proposal at the next IATF meeting. 

The task force also announced earlier that students are prohibited from going to computer shops "to avoid disturbance from users playing noisy computer games."

COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT DILG JOINT TASK FORCE COVID SHIELD JTF CV SHIELD NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PNP
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