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    Palace: Nationwide GCQ possible by August

    MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang Palace shared they are eyeing the possibility of declaring the entire Philippines under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) by August.
    Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

    Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque admitted that nationwide GCQ would be possible by August as long the public cooperates with the government's quarantine protocols.

    “Pero sa ngayon po, for purposes of planning, we’re assuming that with the cooperation of everyone, pu-pwede na po na buong Pilipinas ay mag-GCQ by August,” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.

    Roque said they are hoping the government can already declare GCQ just before the classes resume on August 24.

    "We’re hoping that by August 24, which is the mandated day para mag-simula ang mga public school, ay nasa GCQ na po ang buong Pilipinas," Roque said.

    READ: DepEd releases school calendar for SY 2020-2021

    The spokesperson assured that the government is doing everything they can to help ensure the safety of the public. Roque said they see that it's still not fit to declare the GCQ, they will not force it.

    “Kung hindi po, we will take the appropriate action,” he said.

    Meanwhile, there have been apprehensions on the declared school opening by the Department of Education (DepEd).

    The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines had urged DepEd to provide free mass testing for educators and students before classes resume. In a press briefing, ACT stated, "No mass testing, no class opening."

    The teachers' group presented their five prerequisites before DepEd resumes classes.

    Aside from the health and safety measures, ACT asked for the following:
    • comprehensive medical and socio-economic response to the crisis
    • access to quality education, which is not limited to technological resources
    • protection for education workers’ labor rights and grant necessary benefits
    • democratic consultations with teachers, parents, and learners

    “Without addressing all five, no return to schools shall take place. The safety of students and teachers comes first,” ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said.

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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