Senate OKs on 2nd reading bill letting President defer school opening beyond August
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has approved on second reading a bill that would allow the President to defer the opening of classes beyond August if he should declare a state of emergency nationwide or in selected areas.
During Wednesday’s “hybrid” plenary session, senators passed on second reading Senate Bill No. 1541, which seeks to amend Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7797 or An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) Days to Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days.
The date of the postponed class opening will be based on the recommendation of the secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd).
At present, R.A. 7797 mandates the opening of classes between the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.
The DepEd earlier announced that the school year 2020 to 2021 would open, physically or online, on Aug. 24.
But should the proposed measure be enacted into law, the President, who recently opposed the resumption of “face-to-face” classes without a COVID-19 vaccine, would be allowed to postpone school opening beyond August.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said that the bill on the postponement of classes would be among measures to be prioritized by the upper chamber before its sine die adjournment in the first week of June.
“If we don’t pass that and we don’t resume classes on Aug. 24 or the last week of August, the President himself, as well as DepEd, would be violating the law. So we really need to pass this amendment,” Sotto told reporters in Filipino in an online interview.
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