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House OKs on final reading bill allowing president to revise school opening schedule

/ 08:06 PM June 04, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The bill which would empower the president to set a different date for the start of the school year in the event of a state of emergency or state of calamity has been approved on final reading by the House of Representatives.

With 241 affirmative votes, no negative votes, and no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 6895 in a move to amend Republic Act 7797 or “An Act To Lengthen the School Calendar From Two Hundred Days to Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty Class Days.”

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“This bill seeks to allow the President some flexibility because of emergencies such as what we are experiencing right now to postpone or to delay the opening of the academic calendar,” Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said in sponsoring the measure.

The revised starting date shall be based on the recommendation of the secretary of education and could be applicable nationwide or parts of it.

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“In the implementation of this Act, the Secretary of Education shall determine the end of the regular school year, taking into consideration the Christmas and summer vacations, and the peculiar circumstances of each region,” the bill states.

“Notwithstanding the provision of any law to the contrary, the deferred school opening shall apply to all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools,” the bill adds.

Before the bill reached the plenary, the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture and the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education adopted the Senate version of the bill which states that the date of the postponed school year opening will be based on the recommendation of the secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd).

“This bill seeks to allow the President some flexibility because of emergencies such as what we are experiencing right now to postpone or to delay the opening of the academic calendar,” Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said in sponsoring the measure.

The Senate also approved on third reading their version of the measure.

Currently, R.A. 7797 mandates the opening of classes between the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

To recall, the education department has set the opening of classes, whether physically or virtually, on August 24.

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