Out of school? Kids swimming in Pasig River ‘pretending’ to be home — senators
MANILA, Philippines — Senators were puzzled why children are out in the streets “pretending” to be home when they are barred from attending face-to-face classes due to the pandemic.
At Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate committee on basic education, panel head Senator Sherwin Gatchalian showed some photos of children swimming in Pasig River in Sta. Mesa without observing social distancing.
“If our schools are not opened ganito po yung mga makikita natin [this is what we’re going to see]. In fact, ngayon [now] they are not allowed to go out but without government guarding the streets, they will be playing, talking to their friends, socializing,” Gatchalian said during the hearing.
“Humans are social animals eh, and it’s very difficult to prevent them from enjoying Pasig River. So better for them to go inside their schools and get education,” he added.
Senator Pia Cayetano also observed that even in rural areas, many children are “congregating” outside their homes.
“That’s their everyday life now. So we’re like pretending that they are home, isolated, and therefore cannot see their teachers, and cannot mingle in whatever way with their classmates,” Cayetano said.
“But that’s not what’s happening. They’re mingling on the streets like I used to always see them pre-Covid. Andun sila naglalakad together, bumibili ng ice cream kung may pambili, naglalaro ng local basketball.”
(They are there walking together, buying ice cream if they have money, playing local basketball)
“That’s the reality. That’s what’s happening. So it’s ridiculous that we’re not intervening and delivering education in a more efficient way,” she also said.
In her recent visit in an upland community in Benguet province, Cayetano noted the empty schools there that could be used in face-to-face classes since there are only 32 students there.
“Aantayin pa natin ang August bago bumalik itong mga ‘to? I cannot understand that,” Cayetano lamented.
(Do we have to wait until August before they can go back to [schools]?)
At the start of the hearing, Senator Imee Marcos reiterated her full support for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
Senator Nancy Binay, for her part, noted the seeming lack of “persuasive powers” of the Department of Education (DepEd) to bring back students to schools.
“Parang kulang sa persuasive powers ang DepEd kasi tingnan nyo dapat papayagan na yung mga kabataan natin na pumunta sa arcade center, pwde na silang pumunta sa mall kaya hindi ko maintindihan pero hindi sila pwedeng bumalik sa classroom at a limited number of students. Pero ngayon pwede na silang mag Boracay, pwede na silang mag Baguio,” she said.
(There is seeming lack of persuasive powers on the part of DepEd because the children would have been allowed to go to arcade centers, to malls that’s why I don’t understand why they could not go back to classroom at a limited number of students. But now they can go to Boracay, to Baguio.)
Binay also lamented what she called a seeming “disconnect” on the government’s plan to allow more children outside their homes while still keeping them out of schools.
“I think were all in agreement that there’s a need to start this face-to-face classes for our students,” she later said.
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