Sen. Go to Dep-Ed: ‘Put students’ health first’; urges aid for poor, OFWs and LSIs

Published June 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

In view of the opening of classes in late August, the education sector must safeguard and prioritize the health of the students first.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, stressed this today as the Department of Education (DepEd) continues its preparations for the opening of classes in the upcoming school year.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go (Office of Senator Bong Go / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go
(Office of Senator Bong Go / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Duterte reiterated his earlier pronouncement that he would not allow any “face-to-face” conduct of classes until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

Go said he has been appealing to DepEd and the education sector, in general, to explore the use of technology and available media to adopt new learning and teaching techniques that would allow distance learning.

“Sa edukasyon naman po, mahirap nga sa panahong ito. Barely two months to go before the opening, kaya lang po prayoridad po natin ang buhay ng mga bata,” he explained. (On the education sector, these are difficult times. .. the lives of our children should be our priority.)

Before it adjourned sine die in mid-March, the Senate passed a bill giving authority to the President to change the schedule or opening of school classes.

The Senate measure was adopted by the House of Representatives.

Go reiterated that the public must remain vigilant against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) given the lack of approved vaccine for the disease.

Assistance to business sector

Go also appealed to the government to help ease the current situation of businesses and other stakeholders given the burden caused by this public health crisis.

He emphasized that while the government will do everything to the best of its capacity in providing assistance, especially to those who lost their jobs, the OFWs, and the poorest of the poor, its resources are also limited and must be maximized.

He then said that as community quarantine measures are eased in many parts of the country, many businesses might now resume their operations while complying with health protocols — such as social distancing, wearing of face masks, and frequent hand-washing — to mitigate the outbreak.

“Ipakita natin na tayong mga Pilipino ay meron tayong disiplina (Let’s show that we Filipinos have discipline),” he stressed, adding that the government continuously assesses the COVID-19 situation in the country and that the President and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases continue to address the needs of the general public, taking into consideration health and safety measures that should be in place.

Fund sources

As for issues regarding possible fund sources for the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One bill (Bayanihan 2), Go urged the economic and finance managers to look for possible sources of funding since government resources have been stretched out already to enhance the response of the health sector and address the needs of the people through the implementation of the Bayanihan 1 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act earlier enacted into law.

Congress failed to pass the Bayanihan 2 bill when it adjourned sine die in mid-March.

As the proponent of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program, Go stated that the BP2 rollout is currently suspended to give way for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and other locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who need to go home to their provinces through various Hatid Tulong initiatives of the government.

He emphasized that health and safety protocols must be followed when transporting individuals to provinces.

He, then, appealed to local government units (LGUs) to cooperate with national agencies in helping stranded Filipinos who are arriving in their provinces, lay down measures to take care of their needs, and at the same time protect their communities against the possible spread of the virus.

Go also mentioned that his office provided help to Filipinos stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.