Pimentel wants mayors given sole authority to suspend classes
MANILA, Philippines — As more weather disturbances are expected to enter Philippine territory over the next months, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel on Thursday underscored the need to give to local mayors the authority to suspend classes during grim weather conditions, even without storm signals.
In a statement, Pimentel said that mayors should have the authority to declare suspension of classes on a per-barangay (village) basis depending on ground-level assessment of the risks faced by school age children when going to and from their schools during stormy weather.
Pimentel said that local authorities should be well-aware of the situations in their respective areas of responsibility.
“A mayor who is caught sleeping on the job by not knowing the situation in his local government unit (LGU) during bad weather doesn’t deserve to remain in office a day longer,” said Pimentel.
He added that existing guidelines on suspension of classes are clear but these are effective only for when the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has raised storm warning signals.
Department of Education Order No. 43 which was signed May 2012, mandates that classes in pre-school and kindergarten are automatically suspended in areas under storm signal number 1; classes in pre-school, kindergarten, elementary and high school levels are automatically suspended in areas under signal number 2 and; classes on all levels, including in colleges and universities are suspended under signal number 3.
However, no instructions have been issued for when there is bad weather but no raised storm signal warning.
Pimentel cited the recent rains which left several parts of Metro Manila flooded and caused confusion whether classes were suspended or not since there was no storm or typhoon.
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