Mayors, schools allowed to modify class hours

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
Mayors, schools allowed to modify class hours
Students watch skits on the risks of underage drinking from the educators of Smashed PH program at Jose P. Laurel Senior High School in Project 4, Quezon City on February 26, 2024.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Local chief executives and local education supervisors have the authority to modify school hours due to the prevailing extreme heat, according to the Metro Manila Council (MMC).

“Based on our conversation with a representative from the DepEd (Department of Education), it is within the authority of the mayor and the Division of City Schools to determine school time,” MMC president Francis Zamora said during a media briefing at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) last April 12.

Mayors and city schools division superintendents shall also determine how many class shifts will be made depending on the student population in a city or municipality, he added.

Even school principals can suspend classes anytime he or she finds the heat inside classrooms is no longer bearable, he noted.

Zamora made the pronouncement in response to what he said were numerous questions from students and parents about whether or not local governments should suspend classes due to hot temperatures in the metropolis during the current hot and dry season.

DepEd’s Manila schools division office has already declared classes in all public schools in the city will be held from 6 a.m. to noon until May 28.

Zamora, also the mayor of San Juan city, said that classes will be held from 6 to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m to 7 p.m. in his city to prevent students from exposure to extreme heat from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila announced that starting April 15, “faculty members are given the discretion to shift to online synchronous mode of learning, depending on the requirements of the subject course.”

San Sebastian College-Recoletos in Manila will hold online classes on April 15, while office work would be suspended.

Meanwhile, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has urged other government agencies based in Metro Manila to follow the MMC in adopting flexible work schedules for employees as a temporary solution to traffic congestion in the metro.

CSC Chairman Karlo Nograles said MMC’s Resolution No. 24-08, which adjusts the work schedules of employees of the 17 local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. from the current 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., was consistent with the CSC’s policy on the adoption of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) for government workers nationwide.

“This new development from the MMDA, with the support of the MMC and local officials, is crucial in improving the welfare of civil servants in LGUs, especially those who do not own cars and commute to work every day,” he said.

The Commission cited its latest Inventory of Government Human Resources, which showed that the National Capital Region has the largest number of government workers in the country, with 440,009, representing 22.30 percent of career and non-career personnel nationwide.

“The prevailing traffic conditions in the metro not only hinder their mobility but also impact their productivity, particularly for those who commute daily. — Elizabeth Marcelo

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