‘Mahalaga pa pala ang sabong:’ Marcos insists schools should be opened
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos insisted on Friday that schools should be opened, as she lamented why cockfighting activities were allowed to resume when education is more important.
“Talagang nadismaya ako na mas mahalaga pa pala ang sabong sa Pilipino kaysa sa edukasyon. Dalawang linggong nakalipas, binuksan na ang sabongan pero yung eskwelahan sarado pa rin, hindi naman yata tama,” Marcos said as the Senate basic education committee conducted a hearing on updates on the opening of classes.
(I was really dismayed to know that cockfighting seems to be more important than education. Weeks ago, cockpits were allowed to open but our schools have not.)
“So I think it’s more important na bigyan naman natin ng kahalagahan ang ating edukasyon. Alam naman natin na hindi super-spreader ang mga eskwelahan,” she added.
(So I think we should give more importance to education. We know that schools are not super-spreaders.)
Early October, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the resumption of cockfighting activities in areas under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
However, it would be the local government units that would have the final say if licensed cockpits can resume operations in their respective jurisdictions.
The IATF has yet to allow the conduct of face-to-face classes. As an alternative for the continuing education of students, the Department of Education (DepEd) has implemented blended learning for the current school year, which opened on October 5.
The DepEd solution required schools to shift from a conventional learning setup to “hybrid” learning, which is so-called because it involves the mix of distant online learning and modules that are delivered to students’ doorsteps or picked up from DepEd sites.
Electronic media delivered using the internet, radio, and TV broadcasts to mobile devices, computers, TV, and radio sets became a necessary component of blended, or hybrid, learning.
“I have been very vocal that the schools should have remained open and I was very noisily against their closure,” Marcos said during the hearing.
She claimed that “data from other countries verify the fact that educators can work safely in schools and that schools can actually be the safest place for children during a pandemic.”
“In fact, infection levels in schools merely reflect infection levels in their communities,” she added.
Further, she said, “tragic narration of suicides ascribed to DepEd, wrongly or rightly, merely confirms the problems that ensue with mental illness as well as depriving children of formative social and peer relationships that are so important.”
She also said that distance learning is taking a toll on families, particularly on working mothers “who are incapable of teaching the children at home is too overwhelming to bear.”
“It is important that we finally open our schools,” he added.
DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said there are factors that should be considered before face-to-face classes are allowed.
Among these considerations include epidemiological evidence among students of the age group in basic education in terms of COVID-19 transmission.
“We have to assess the risks associated with getting our children to school,” the DepEd official also said.
Nevertheless, Malaluan said that the reintroduction of face-to-face classes “will be crucial to the learning process.”
“Even if distance learning can happen, the social aspect of learning together, face to face, with the teacher and among the classmates is still very important with this highly social activity,” he said.
DepEd is now finalizing its report and recommendation on the matter that would be submitted by Education Secretary Leonor Briones to President Rodrigo Duterte, according to Malaluan.
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