Vargas admits mistake, apologizes for P50,000 fine on 'no homework' bill

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas admitted that the P50,000 fine and imprisonment noted in his version of "No Homework" Bill were a mistake.

Vargas admits mistake, apologizes for P50,000 fine on "no homework" bill
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas calls it an "honest mistake" and a technical error.

Vargas apologized for committing an "honest mistake" after teachers complained on the fine and penalty he included in House Bill No. 3883.

READ: Bills seek "no homework" policy, P50,000 fine and imprisonment for teacher violators

He said the P50,000 fine and a penalty of imprisonment of up to 2 years to teachers who will violate the policy were meant to be written in a different bill they are working on.

Excerpt of his statement released on Wednesday said, "Ito po ay isang technical error at iwinawasto na po ng ating opisina. Kung inyo pong susuriin, mapapansin na may dalawang Section 4 na nakasama sa panukalang batas. Ito po ang pagkakamaling nagawa. Tama po kayo, hindi ito isang krimen na kailangan ng kaparusahan. Tayo po ay gumagawa na ng hakbang upang iwasto ang naturang pagkakamali."

During an interview he also owned up the mistake and said, "It was a legislative mistake. Honest mistake po iyun na pinaninindigan ko naman po. Hindi naman kasi iyan criminal law. Hindi 'yan dapat lagyan ng penal [aspect]... Para po iyon sa isang bill kong inihahanda. Nalito lang po kami."

Vargas went on to apologize for those who were affected and hurt with the issue.

Vargas' House Bill No. 3883 is seeking to prohibit the giving of homework to students on weekends. He said the bill aims to help school children explore "development opportunities in aspects outside the classroom."

ACT reacts

The bill drew flak from teachers who called the provision and fine as "overkill." Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Partylist Rep. France Castro said, "Grabe naman iyan two years na kulong at Php 50,000 na multa. That’s too much, parang overkill naman iyan."

She also explained that homeworks are beneficial to students since "follow-up iyon in the form of remediation or enrichment sa mga bata."

DepEd's statement

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has released an official statement expressing their support on the "No homework" policy.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the education agency noted that with their "Guidelines on Giving Homework or Assignment to All Public Elementary School Pupils,” otherwise known as DepEd Memorandum No. 392, series 2010," they remain committed to give learners a "holistic development" inside and outside the campus.

Excerpt of their statement reads, "The said issuance aims to enable learners to have more quality time with their parents, family, and friends by limiting the homework/assignment to a reasonable quantity on school days and by eliminating the same during weekends."

They added that by promoting "no homework" on weekends, students will have ample time to "balance between their academic development and personal growth."

— Sally, The Summit Express

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