Dr. Van Phillip Baton and Dr. Shelbay Blanco, both of the Department of Health in Central Visayas, give updates on the suspected novel coronavirus case in Cebu City during a press briefing yesterday.
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon
Second test shows boy negative of coronavirus
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - January 24, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — In what may be considered as a good development, the five-year-old boy from Wuhan, China who earlier tested positive for a strain of coronavirus in Cebu City has tested negative in a subsequent check, the Department of Health said yesterday.

DOH-7 clarified, though, that a third and final swab test will have to be made before the boy could be officially declared as virus-free and discharged from the hospital.

But Dr. Van Phillip Baton, DOH-7 coordinator for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, said the boy is showing signs of recovery -- no fever, no cough, or other symptoms related to the virus.

“The latest sample we sent out for analysis fortunately turned negative for non-specific type of coronavirus,” Baton said. “We cannot say if it’s the novel type or whatever coronavirus. But he was negative for SARS and MERS-CoV.”

Amendments to K to 12 law mulled

Deputy House Speaker and Cebu Third District Rep. Pablo John "PJ" Garcia wants to revisit the Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 following the Capitol's proposal to bring back English as medium of instruction for the basic education level.

"I have asked for a review of the law which the DepEd is making as a basis for the mother tongue policy and if necessary, we'll file a bill to amend the law," he said.

Garcia pointed out the seeming inconsistency between the provisions of the law and its purpose. He said the law provides for the use of mother tongue as the basic medium of instruction which runs counter to its very purpose—to create "globally competitive" graduates.

"It does say there in the law nga sa first… stage of education should be the mother tongue. But, that same law also says that education should be globally competitive. So, I don't know how to balance those two purposes," he said.

The use of mother tongue for kindergarten up to grade three and the use of a transitional mother language composed of Filipino and English for Grade 4 to Grade 6 is prescribed under Section 4 of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.

"I believe that a lot of the decline, especially in our comprehension, has to do with these frequent changes in the educational system so I think it should be revisited, reviewed and if necessary, a bill should be filed to amend that portion of the law," Garcia stressed.

Sharing the same belief as the congressman is his sister, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and niece, Lilioan Mayor Christina Frasco, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)- Cebu Chapter.

Last December 13, two resolutions were sponsored by Frasco in response to news report of the Philippines ranking last in Reading comprehension, Math and Sciences in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Among those was the use of English as the basic medium of instruction for all public schools in the province of Cebu. The governor supported the move by saying one of the reasons behind the decline in students' academic performance is because of the "confusion" brought about by the stratified medium of instruction.

In a December 17 interview, the governor stressed that they will carry on with this change for the new academic year 2020-2021.

“Unless and until we are stopped, that is what we are implementing,” the governor said earlier.  FPL (FREEMAN)

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