Cagayan gov’t assures safety of NSPC delegates amid COVID-19 threat
CAGAYAN, Philippines — The provincial government of Cagayan has allayed the fears of thousands of delegates now attending the week-long 2020 National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Tuguegarao City on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In her welcome remarks, Rosario Villaflor, Chief Assistant to Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, called on the young campus journalists, student paper advisers, guests, and the Department of Education (DepEd) officials not be scared, but be cautious amid the COVID-19 threat.
“I was thinking of apologizing for the heat, kasi medyo po mainit, (I was thinking of apologizing for the heat) but considering COVID- 19, I think we should revel in the heat here in Tuguegarao and in Cagayan because according to scientists, the virus cannot survive sa maiinit na lugar,” (the virus cannot survive in a hot area) Villaflor said.
“At the end of the day, we’ll proceed with of all the activities, thinking that the Department of Education, the city government of Tuguegarao, even the provincial government of Cagayan would not make this event happen if it is not safe for all of us,” she continued.
Villaflor also encouraged the young journalists to always verify information as it is the very essence of journalism.
“So, we are thankful that all of you, I would supposed all of you are the creme of the crop of your respective regions and we take so much pride that you are all here,” she added.
Dubbed as the “Olympics of campus journalism,” NSPC, also known as the largest and the annual gathering of campus journalists from the country’s 17 regions, is organized annually by the Department of Education in pursuant to Republic Act 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.
The education department earlier announced the cancelation of its national and regional events as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
However, the DepEd later decided to push through with the conduct of this year’s NSPC as participants were already at their respective venues, given that heightened precautions are also being implemented, to include the suspension of the traditional parade.
DepEd- Cagayan Valley region also formed a COVID-19 task force stationed at all the contest venues and billeting quarters to ensure the safety of all the participants of this year’s NSPC, which takes place from March 9-13.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 24 as of this writing.
Edited by MUF
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