The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local governments to enforce ordinances banning videoke singing and noisy activities that may distract students from their online classes.
The Philippine National Police, an attached agency of the DILG, earlier said it would coordinate with local governments to regulate drinking and videoke sessions in public places.
“As disciplined and responsible parents and citizens, let’s help our students have quiet and peaceful surroundings so they can study well inside their home,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
Classes in public schools across the country opened last Monday through distance learning due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Año also urged local officials to ban illegal gambling activities and drinking sessions, and to prohibit students from visiting internet cafes to avoid disturbance from users playing noisy computer games.
Año told vehicle owners to avoid unnecessary blowing of their car horns during school hours.
“Security, safety, and other measures that the PNP used to implement for the schools should be expanded to include the entire barangay as part of the expanded learning space amid the continued threat of COVID-19,” he added.
Meanwhile, a congressional leader on Wednesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to continue working with stakeholders to resolve gaps in blended learning as teachers and students adapt to the “new normal” in education.
Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said school year 2020-2021 is off to a good start as DepEd managed to resolve most of the concerns raised by students, parents, and teachers ahead of the October 5 opening of classes.
“I laud DepEd for taking advantage of the six-week period from the time opening of classes was moved from August 24 to improve preparations for the rollout of blended learning. While glitches marred the first day of classes in some areas, Secretary Briones is correct: Education should continue despite the pandemic,” said Vargas, member of the House committee on youth and sports development.
Briones declared the opening of classes a “victory” because it showed that the COVID-19 crisis should not get in the way of education.
Also, the United States government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), donated 150 laptop computers, printers, projectors, and 80 sets of learning materials to DepEd as part of its ongoing commitment to support the Philippine government’s basic education learning continuity plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a ceremony on Tuesday, USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II handed over the computers, printers and other learning materials to Assistant Secretary for Alternative Learning Systems (ALS) G.H. Ambat, who accepted the donations on behalf of DepEd.
“USAID’s assistance augments DepEd’s efforts to help ensure continuity of education, especially for vulnerable out-of-school youth,” the US Embassy said, in a statement.
“In the coming weeks, USAID will provide more than 400 laptops, computers, printers, projectors, and other related materials worth Php34 million ($700,000) to DepEd’s ALS Task Force,” it added.
The new school year kicked off with over 24.7 million students returning to school virtually. DepEd said lessons will be taught through a mix of modalities, including printed modules, online classes, and educational radio and television shows.
With more students logging online for classes, Vargas said DepEd should partner with telcos and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to ensure there will be stable internet connection during class hours.
“DepEd should also find ways to bring down the cost of internet access for educational activities. It would be better if teachers and students can log on to online class portals for free so cost would no longer be a concern,” he said.
Vargas also urged DepEd to partner with local government units, down to the barangays, to help teachers distribute learning modules to students.
“Teachers shouldn’t be made to travel long distances to deliver the modules. Without face to face classes, there should be better coordination between schools and communities on how students can learn best in the ‘new normal,’” he said.