By Merlina Malipot
Education Secretary Leonor Briones reminded all public and private schools nationwide to “prioritize the safety and well-being of learners at all cost” as the country braces itself for the rainy season.
Briones, in a statement through Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla, issued the reminder after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) officially declared the start of the rainy season in the Philippines.
The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Service at the Central Office, DRRM Units at the Regional and the Schools Division Offices, and the school heads and DRRM coordinators, Briones said, “shall lead the preparations and implementation of precautionary measures to mitigate the impacts of the rainy season.”
Briones also noted that as to the announcement of class suspensions due to inclement weather, the DepEd’s policy remains wherein “classes in affected areas are automatically suspended based on the PAGASA declared storm signals, while local government units (LGUs)—not DepEd—decide on and announce class suspensions within their areas of jurisdiction during calamities in the absence of a storm signal.”
As per existing policies in suspending classes during inclement weather, school heads –as well as local government units (LGUs) – may declare suspension of classes depending on the situation in their respective areas when there are no storm signals raised by the PAGASA.
It was also reiterated that automatic suspension of classes in applicable for the pre-school level in all public and private schools when storm number 1 has been raised. Meanwhile, classes in pre-school, elementary and high school – in all public and private schools – will be automatically suspended with storm signal number 2 has been raised. Classes at all levels – from pre-school to college, including graduate school – are automatically suspended when signal number 3 or higher has been raised.
Briones further called on parents to “practice their discretion” on determining whether their children should go to school during typhoons, floods and other calamities, even in the absence of cancellation or suspension of classes announcement.
As per PAGASA, occasional heavy rains are being experienced over Metro Manila, the Ilocos, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and the Western Visayas Regions; and over Bataan and Zambales due to Tropical Storm (TS) “Domeng” (international name Maliksi) along with the southwest monsoon. It is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Sunday, June 10.