Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher “Bong” Go on August 13, is recommending to the government to postpone further the opening of the school year, which is slated this coming August 24. “Our children’s safety and well-being are of utmost importance and it is our responsibility to ensure these,” he firmly said.

Go is proposing 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 caused by the 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.

“Kung hindi pa handa, huwag nating pilitin. Magiging kawawa ang mga estudyante, kawawa ang mga teachers. Hirap na po ang mga Pilipino, huwag na nating dagdagan pa ng pressure ang mga bata at mga magulang nila,” the Senator said in a statement.

“Para rin hindi ma-pressure at madaliin ng DepEd at iba pang ahensya ang mga paghahandang kailangang gawin, 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.

“Siguraduhin nating magiging maayos ang implementasyon para hindi na madagdagan ang paghihirap ng mga tao. Katulad ng sinabi ko noon, dapat siguraduhin na makakapag-aral ang ating mga estudyante sa maayos at ligtas na paraan in line with the President’s position of ‘no vaccine, no face-to-face classes’,” Go also added in his statement.

The Senator also explained that given the challenges the whole country is currently facing and the adverse economic impact it has caused to various sectors, it would be beneficial to give affected Filipinos more time to adapt to the so-called ‘new normal’.

“Sa konting postponement na ito, mabibigyan ng karagdagang panahon upang mas makapaghanda ang mga students, teachers, learning institutions, education authorities and even the general public. This is to better prepare and fine tune the country’s flexible continuity learning plans,” he further explained.

“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,” Go lamented.

“Ayaw nating maipasa ang burden sa estudyante at ma-pressure sila dahil sa makabagong paraan ng pag-aaral kung hindi pa naman po handa ang lahat,” he added.

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 said that he hopes 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,” he said.

Last July 17, 2020, 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. It 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,” he finally said.

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