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Local Roundup: Duque stays

  • Duque stays
  • Postpone classes
Malacañang on Friday said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III would continue to work in the government’s response against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), despite making a false claim that the country was now experiencing the second wave of virus infections.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said despite the blunder, the government’s information campaign on COVID-19 response remained “organized.”

READ: Palace disowns ‘2nd wave’

“The government needs Secretary Duque and he still has to perform his duty as the country’s Health chief to address the COVID-19 outbreak,” Roque said.

He assured the public that Duque would answer allegations in the proper forum but, for now, the President would allow him to do his job during this global health emergency.

‘Postpone classes’

Two lawmakers on Friday called on the government to postpone the reopening of all public and private schools until a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed and becomes available in the country.

Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. filed House Resolution No. 876 seeking to express the collective sense of the House for the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infection Diseases to suspend the resumption of classes “until and unless a vaccine against COVID-19 has been discovered and included in the Philippine national drug formulary.”

Despite the pandemic, the DepEd has set the official opening of the incoming school year on Aug. 24, 2020.

Teachers’ worries

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines on Friday questioned the scientific validity of the government’s claim that the country was on its 2nd wave of the virus outbreak, as well as its continued refusal to recognize the need for mass testing.

READ: House to tackle disruption of classes

In a statement, the group said this raised further apprehension among teachers and the entire public on the prospect of school opening as such “questionable claims” indicated “we are far from controlling the spread of the virus.”

Teachers and parents have earlier expressed apprehension on DepEd’s announcement to return to work on June 1 due to the threat of acquiring or passing onto others the virus.

Cyber graduation rites

The first “Cyber-Graduation Ceremony” for school year 2019-2020 in Metro Manila happened in Taguig City.

More than 170 students from the Senator Renato Cayetano Memorial Science and Technology High School were the first batch of graduates who went through the “Cyber-Graduation Ceremony.”

This technology-based idea originated in the Taguig City Education Office and the Taguig Robotics Team, a group of students that had won the city gold medals at international robotics tilts. With Benjamin Chavez

The special graduation event featured four robots, made with recycled materials, which represented the 179 graduating class of SRCC.

Rising hunger

Malacanang on Friday vowed to extend assistance to all Filipino people after receiving reports of the rising number of Filipinos experiencing hunger amid the coronavirus disease.

Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said the President was saddened by the reported rising hunger among Filipino families, particularly the poor due to the pandemic, saying the government was doing all its effort to provide assistance to all the people.

“That is really saddening, that is why we are doing all we can to extend assistance to our countrymen,” Roque said in an interview.

“We wish we could avoid such sad news. But when the economy is closed, many will face difficulties and our President understands that. So let’s all work together to further open our economy,” he added.

SAP distribution

Kilusang Mayo Uno has reiterated its position the distribution of aid funds should not be transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

The labor group earlier assailed President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to Sec. Emmanuel Bautista of the Social Welfare Department to request the AFP to help in distributing the SAP funds.

“The AFP and PNP are not corrupt-free and are not good examples of following rules to be distributors of SAP. The military should just keep out of aid distribution,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog.

Farmers’ debt

Senator Ralph Recto on Friday asked his colleagues to act on his bill condoning all the debts farmers incurred in owning lands under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

He made the appeal following the approval by the House of Representatives on Wednesday of a bill that contains his proposal.

The measure seeks the write-off of all unpaid amortizations, interest, penalties, and surcharges on loans secured under CARP.

Once this mass amnesty of farmer’s obligations is approved by law, the agrarian reform beneficiaries shall be deemed rightful owners of the lands awarded to them. With Benjamin Chavez

READ: DOH needs P67.6 billion more to fight pandemic as cases near 13,000

Topics: Francisco Duque III , novel coronavirus disease , Harry Roque , second wave
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