By Argyll Geducos
President Duterte has announced the suspension of classes in all levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) from March 10 to14 as the number of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country soared to 24 Monday evening.
In a press conference in Malacañang, Duterte said the decision was made to keep schoolchildren safe and to see if the suspension of classes will somehow reduce the number of infections.
“It’s the consensus that classes will be suspended in NCR, National Capital Region lang, beginning tomorrow (March 10) and it will end on March 14,” he told reporters Monday evening.
“One is to keep safe the children; second is we’re going to establish a benchmark kung ilan pa ang madagdagan. At kung ngayon itong walang klase (if how many will be added. And if there are no classes), would it somehow reduce the number of the victims,” he added.
“The virus is so virulent that even a contact, mere talking, and hand-shaking could place you in jeopardy. We are trying to avoid losses, especially lives, and that is why we met this afternoon,” he continued.
President Duterte’s announcement came as he reported that there were four more cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Monday evening, making the total number of infections 24. He said the confirmed patients were from West Crame, San Juan; Sta. Maria, Bulacan; and Project 6, Quezon City.
Several local government units (LGUs) in the NCR have suspended classes for the next few days over the COVID-19 threat, including the City of Manila which declared the suspension of classes until March 15.
Study from home
President Duterte has tapped the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the barangays to make sure that children will be staying at home and studying while classes in NCR are suspended.
“We keep our children sequestered at home and study there. Secretary of Education [Leonor] Briones has insisted they should stay home but study,” he said.
“If they (students) are there [outside], they will be escorted to the parents, and for the parents to be lectured on the responsibilities of being a parent, that the children should study even while they are detained in their respective homes,” he added.
No work from home
Meanwhile, President Duterte said he cannot allow government workers to do their work from home because he needed all hands on deck to combat the virus.
“You know, the government has to function. We need all, at least now, we need all,” he said.
We can win
Duterte likewise expressed his confidence that the Philippines will be able to overcome the COVID-19 threat, assuring the public that the government has enough funds to address the situation.
“I assure you we have the money and we can defeat… ‘T*** i**** virus na ‘yan. Saan ba nakatira ‘yan (That [expletive] virus. Where does it live)? We can defeat it,” he said.
“Wala pa tayo masyadong alam (We do not know much about it yet). But I’m sure the scientists all over the world are working overtime to look for the vaccine. Hindi ito magtatagal (This will not last). I am confident that we will survive this contagion,” he added.