BBM: Biz, parents to benefit most with kids’ return to in-person schools
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said a successful resumption of face-to-face classes later this month will boost economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses around schools revive and parents get to go back to work while their children are in school.
In his weekly vlog uploaded Saturday, Marcos enjoined local government units (LGUs) to be more aggressive in their COVID-19 vaccination and booster drives to ensure the safety of everyone, especially students, once Academic Year 2022-2023 starts Aug. 22.
But a group of teachers called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to extend the current school break to give educators more time to prepare for the opening of face-to-face classes.
Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairman Benjo Basas said they met with Vice President Sara Duterte, concurrent secretary of the Department of Education, who ruled out postponing the start of classes but asked them to document their request anyway.
Marcos, in his video address, said some 15.9 million Filipinos have received their first COVID-19 booster shots while over 1.2 million have received their second booster doses.
Marcos admitted this is still far from the government’s target of administering at least 23 million COVID-19 booster shots within his first 100 days in office.
“We will not get tired of asking our LGUs to be more aggressive in this campaign,” he said in Filipino.
He acknowledged that getting more Filipinos to get their COVID-19 jabs and booster shots is not easy, but it is crucial to reopening more sectors.
“It might not be that simple, but if our preparation is done right, I am sure this will be successful,” he added.
“If this becomes successful, it won’t only mean the resumption of classes but also the resumption of business, livelihood, and economic development. This would be a huge help to our efforts to reopen the economy,” he said.
Marcos reminded industries to continue enforcing minimum public health standards to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“A lot of industries will take part and benefit from this step, so we need to make sure that everyone is ready,” he added.
Marcos visited a vaccination site in Pasig on Aug. 1 to observe and encourage more people to receive primary and booster shots.
“We have no other defense against this other than the vaccine. Let’s not wait for the cases to increase and to become difficult for us to go to work, to leave our homes,” he said.
In an interview with ABS-CBN TeleRadyo on Sunday, Basas said a DepEd lawyer had the legal opinion that there was no law that entitles teachers to have a two-month break, as his group is proposing.
But Basas said they will be filing a rejoinder with the department on Monday, as a final attempt to convince Duterte.
Among other things, the teachers want to get free laptops and internet connectivity, saying these are among their essential needs to deliver their lessons to learners when in-person classes start.
Basas said under Republic Act No. 11480 signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2020, the opening of the school year may be deferred to another date beyond August during a national emergency.
Since the Philippines will remain under a state of calamity due to the COVID-19 pandemic only until September, Basas said their appeal for an extension of a break is still valid.
He also said it would be dangerous for the DepEd to ignore teachers’ rights.