The Joint Task Force Covid Shield on Thursday ordered police to coordinate with local officials in reminding computer shop owners to comply with quarantine protocols and to bar minors from entry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reminder comes ahead of the opening of classes in public schools through blended learning on Oct. 5.
“We understand that a number of elementary and high school students in the public schools do not have computers, laptops and other gadgets for the opening of classes so there may be some of them who would go to the internet shops for their online classes for the use of computers and to avail internet connections,” said task force commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
Eleazar reminded computer shop owners of the prohibition on the entry of minors into their establishments.
“Our commanders on the ground should take the lead not only in reminding the internet shop owners that minors should not be allowed to enter in accordance with the guidelines of the IATF (Inter-Agency
Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases) but also in making sure that this and other rules are strictly and properly observed,” he added.
Internet shops were among the business establishments which were allowed to reopen in September as the government started to ease quarantine restrictions to gradually allow the resumption of business operations and revive the economy.
The Department of Education, on the other hand, said it will push through with the opening of the classes in public schools next week.
Eleazar said internet shops would likely be a go-to place beginning next week as some students and parents start to comply with school requirements.
He said police commanders should start by accounting all the operating computer shops in their respective areas of responsibility and start coordinating with the LGUs down to the barangay level to ensure that the guidelines of both the IATF and the LGUs are observed.
He also appealed to the internet shop owners to do their share in ensuring that their establishments are always disinfected and the rules on health safety are strictly and properly observed.
Ahead of school opening, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines questioned the Department of Education’s claim that 80 percent of self-learning modules (SLMs) had been distributed to learners one week before classes officially open.
The group said reports show that it was only recently that the digital copies of modules for printing from the Central Office reached DepEd’s regional and division offices, thus the ones that are being distributed are either locally developed modules,diagnostic tests, or activity sheets for learners.
“We are worried that DepEd is again misleading the public with its grand claims on readiness, just as it did before the Aug. 24 opening. This comes at the expense of true education continuity and students’ right to accessible quality education, since the withholding of the whole state of school opening readiness denies us the chance to seek redress from the government who is mandated to resolve these issues,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
ACT said reports from NCR, Regions I, IV-A, V, VI, VII, VIII, and XIII confirmed that they are still printing and collating locally made modules, and these are the same materials being distributed to students.
The group added that it was repeatedly cited by teachers that the promised centralized modules only arrived at their regional or division offices in September, and will still go through governmental processes of bidding and procurement of services for printing. Some local divisions decided to just distribute diagnostic tests and learners’ activity sheets for the first two weeks of classes due to the unavailable modules for distribution.