More LGUs suspend classes due to COVID-19

Cesar Ramirez, Raymund Catindig, Roel Pareño, Ben Serrano, Eva Visperas, Artemio Dumlao, Ric Sapnu, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More local government units (LGUs) in the provinces are suspending classes amid a spike in the number of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country.

In an executive order (EO)issued yesterday, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said classes are suspended from March 13 to 22 to pave the way for the disinfection of classrooms and school facilities.

Magalong said his decision was based on a series of meetings with officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education.

Magalong said the city government in coordination with the Department of Health is implementing safety and precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Classes in Cantilan and Carrascal towns in Surigao del Sur were indefinitely suspended, also due to COVID-19.

Mayors Maria Carla Lopez-Pichay of Cantilan and Vicente Pimentel of Carrascal issued EOs on the class suspensions.

Also in Caraga, DepEd cancelled the regional athletic association meet as a precautionary measure against the flu virus. The event was supposed to be held on Siargao island starting today until March 18.

Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino said he is leaving it up to local chief executives and education officials on whether to suspend classes.

Classes were suspended in Lingayen, Bugallon and Mangatarem this week to disinfect schools.

In Zamboanga City, the interagency task force on COVID-19 urged the city schools division to come up with guidelines on the cancellation of classes.

Isabela Gov. Rodolfo Albano III issued an EO discouraging crowd-drawing activities, such as fiestas, graduation balls and concerts.

A similar EO was issued by acting Batanes governor Ignacio Villa, who also asked LGUs and national line agencies to either cancel or postpone events, such as seminars, that require visitors and resource persons from other areas.

Among those cancelled are activities marking Batanes Day, Solo Parents Congress and Provincial Youth Summit.

The Laga Festival in Lagayan, Abra set on March 14 and 15 was also cancelled.

“This difficult decision has to be made in the interest of public health and safety and as a precautionary measure to address the threat of COVID-19 that may put the lives of everyone in danger if we fail to take this concern seriously,” Mayor Edmarc Crisologo said.

Barangay assemblies

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) postponed barangay assemblies amid the threat posed by COVID-19.

“While the holding of barangay assemblies is important, we need to think of the greater good and ensure the general welfare of the people, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

The barangay assembly is a biannual meeting held on any Saturday and Sunday of March and October as mandated under the Local Government Code.

Barangay captains deliver their State of the Barangay Address highlighting their accomplishments and plans for the year.

Cybercrime raps

Meanwhile, Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda said he would file charges for violation of the Cybercrime Law against netizens who spread fake news about COVID-19. 

“Ipapahanap natin ang nagpapakalat ng mga fake news na iyan. I will not hesitate to file charges against them,” Pineda said.

“All announcements and information will come only from the provincial capitol and police information office,” he said.

Pineda was reacting to reports that Pampanga is on lockdown due to the flu virus. 

Col. Jean Fajardo, Pampanga police director, said those found guilty of spreading false information face up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to P1 million.

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