Duterte: No COVID-19 vaccine, no classes

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he would rather postpone the opening of classes than risk the safety of learners.

Duterte: No COVID-19 vaccine, no classes
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Malacañang on May 25, 2020.

During his late night address to the public on Monday, May 25, Duterte said he would want to wait for the development of COVID-19 vaccine before sending the students back to school. He said he worries about crowded classrooms might put the safety of children at risk.

“Mga bata, ‘wag muna. ‘Yang opening ng classes, that’s a, I will not allow the opening of classes na magdikit dikit ‘yang mga bata. Bahala na hindi na makatapos,” Duterte said.

“For this generation, wala nang makatapos na doktor pati engineer. Kasi hindi na, wala nang aral. Laro na lang. Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it's useless to be talking about the opening of classes. Para sa akin, bakuna muna. Kapag nandiyan 'yung bakuna, okay na,” Duterte said.

UPDATEDuque: 'Safe' to open classes in August even without COVID-19 vaccine

Education secretary Leonor Briones had earlier said that the August class opening doesn't mean physical or face-to-face learning. Other learning alternatives such as online classes may be offered.

SEE ALSO: DepEd releases school calendar for SY 2020-2021

Senator Win Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate basic education committee, said the government may have to "adjust accordingly" based on the country's COVID-19 situation when August comes.

Meanwhile, several lawmakers and netizens already expressed their hesitations on the scheduled class opening in August.

Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. also filed a resolution seeking to suspend the opening of classes until the COVID-19 vaccine is available. “With the growing Covid-19 threat which is still present and imminent to the safety of our citizens, especially our children, it is imperative that we take all precautions and preventive actions to protect our people from the disease,” Gonzales said.

Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong also urged the agency to postpone the classes because the country's education system is not fully ready for an online classroom set-up.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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