President Rodrigo Duterte puts the welfare of children above anything else in his decision not to allow face-to-face classes anew in the country, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday, February 23.
“The President has directed the Department of Education (DepEd) to put on hold plans to conduct face-to-face classes,” Nograles said in an online media briefing.
Duterte held a Cabinet meeting last night in
Malacañang where he issued the directive to Education Secretary Leonor Briones not to allow in-person classes sans COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
The DepEd had proposed the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in 1,904 schools from 126 school divisions in several areas nationwide.
But the Chief Executive rejected once again the proposed resumption of in-person classes until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes locally available.
The Philippines was scheduled to start inoculating health workers in mid-February as it expected the arrival of some 117,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, but this was delayed because of an issue on indemnification.
China’s Sinovac was supposed to arrive today but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approved its emergency use authorization (EUA) on Monday, Feb. 22.
Nograles said the President believes the safety and health of children, as well as those in charge of their care and education, is paramount.
“Hindi lang po kasi kapakanan ng mga bata ang pinag-uusapan po dito kundi ang kapakanan ng kanilang mga pamilya at ating mga guro (We are not only talking about the welfare of children here, but also the welfare of their families and our teachers),” he said.
“The President acknowledges efforts can be made to mitigate the risks of holding face-to-face classes but as long as the risks are there, he believes the more prudent way forward is to hold this in abeyance for the time being,” Nograles stressed.