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Heat, strike shut down schools

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DepEd orders two-day suspension of face-to-face classes

Onsite classes are still suspended from April 29 to 30 in view of the latest heat index forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

The decision by DepEd was partly based on the recent announcement of a nationwide strike of major transport groups from April 29 to May 1 (Labor Day). This means all public schools are directed to keep holding asynchronous classes or distance learning for Monday and Tuesday next week.

“Likewise, teaching and non-teaching personnel in all public schools shall not be required to report to their respective stations,” DepEd said in its latest advisory.

The education department, however, said activities organized by regional and schools’ division offices may push through as scheduled. These include Regional Athletic Association Meets and other division or school level programs.

Public school administrators were reminded that the implementation of measures for the safety of all participants should be guaranteed. The DepEd advisory does not cover private schools, but they have the option to implement the same.

Based on its computed two-day forecast as of 5PM on Saturday (April 27), PAGASA said at least 32 areas nationwide will continue to experience danger level heat index, with temperatures hitting 42 to 46 degrees Celsius, including Metro Manila.

Extreme hot weather in the Philippines is expected to last until mid-May, a forecaster said Sunday, after the temperature struck a record high in Manila, the capital city.

The heat wave has spread across Southeast Asia in recent days, prompting thousands of schools to call off in-person classes and for authorities to issue health warnings.

In the Philippines, many people flocked to air-conditioned shopping malls and swimming pools for relief from the relentless heat.

“This is the hottest I’ve ever experienced here,” said Nancy Bautista, 65, whose resort in Cavite province near Manila was fully booked due to the hot weather.

“Many of our guests are friends and families. They swim in the pool to fight the heat.”

The temperature in Manila hit a record high of 38.8 degrees Celsius (101.8 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday with the heat index reaching 45C, data from the state weather forecaster showed.

The heat index measures what a temperature feels like, taking into account humidity.

The months of March, April and May are typically the hottest and driest time of the year, but this year’s conditions have been exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

“All places in the country, not necessarily just Metro Manila, are expected to have hotter temperatures until the second week of May,” Glaiza Escullar of the state weather forecaster said.

“There is a possibility that the areas will exceed those temperatures being measured today until the second week of May,” she added.

Meanwhile, Camiling municipality in Tarlac province, north of Manila, recorded a temperature of 40.3C on Saturday—the country’s highest this year.

As the temperature rose, Gerise Reyes, 31, planned to take her two-year-old daughter to a shopping mall near Manila.

“It’s hot here at home. This is the hottest I’ve ever experienced, especially between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm,” she said.

“We need a free aircon to cut our electricity bill.”

Global temperatures hit record highs last year, and the United Nations’ weather and climate agency said Tuesday that Asia was warming at a particularly rapid pace.

The Philippines ranks among the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.


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