Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday recommended to the government to further postpone the opening of the school year on August 24.
“Our children’s safety and well-being are of utmost importance and it is our responsibility to ensure these,” said Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.
Go suggested to move the opening of classes to October 2020 to give students, teachers, learning institutions and education authorities more time to prepare given the challenges the country is still facing due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Umaapela ako sa Executive branch na kung maaari ay i-postpone muna ng ilan pang buwan ang pagbubukas ng klase habang wala pang bakuna sa Covid-19. Huwag nating isugal ang buhay at kaligtasan ng ating mga kabataan. (I appeal to the executive branch to postpone for few months the opening of classes while there is still no vaccine. Let’s not put the life and safety of our children at stake),” Go said.
Go said his suggestion also aims not to pressure the Department of Education (DepEd) and other government agencies.
“Kung hindi pa handa, huwag nating pilitin. Bigyan muna natin sila ng dagdag na oras upang plantsahin at ayusin ng mabuti ang lahat ng mga plano sa pag-conduct ng flexible o blended learning (Do not force if not yet ready. Let’s give them more time to iron out and prepare well all the plans for conduct of flexible or blended learning),” Go said.
He said his recommendation was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s original stand of “no vaccine, no face-to-face classes”.
“Siguraduhin nating magiging maayos ang implementasyon para hindi na madagdagan ang paghihirap ng mga tao (Let’s make sure that we have proper implementation so that will not put additional burden to the people),” he added.
Go said given the challenges the country is facing due to the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 to various sectors, it would be beneficial to give affected Filipinos more time to adapt to the so-called “new normal”.
“Karamihan sa atin hirap pa mag-transition sa alternative modes tulad ng online transactions at online learning. Ang internet hindi rin reliable, tapos yung offline modes of learning naman pinaghahandaan pa rin (Majority of us face difficulties to transition to alternative modes line online transactions and online learning. Our internet is not reliable, then the offline modes of learning are still being prepared),” Go said.
During the August 12 hearing of the Senate Committee on Basic Education joint with the Committee on Health and Demography, Go emphasized again the need for education authorities and school officials to explore more learning modes, combining offline and online method.
Go hopes that all Filipino children will be given equal opportunity to learn wherever they are in the country.
“Kung tayo nga dito sa Senado ay nahihirapan sa transition to online, paano pa kaya sila? Bukod sa mga estudyante, dapat alalayan din natin ang ating mga guro. Dapat may angkop na trainings din para sa kanila (If we in the Senate face difficulties to transition to online, how much them [school children]? Aside from students, we should also help our teachers. They should have proper trainings about online teaching),” he said.
On July 17, Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11480, giving authority to the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Education Secretary, to set a different date of opening of school year in the country or parts thereof in cases of the declaration of state of emergency or state of calamity.
The law shall apply to all basic educational institutions, including international schools.
“Sa anumang desisyon ng gobyeno, palaging isaalang-alang, una sa lahat ay ang buhay at kaligtasan ng ating mga mamamayan (Whatever the decision of the government should consider everything, first the lives and safety of our people),” Go said.