“It spells disaster,” Duterte said in a televised address aired late Monday night, noting he would not risk the lives of students without a vaccine.
“I will not allow the opening of classes na magdikit dikit ‘yang mga bata. Bahala nang hindi na makatapos. For this generation walang makatapos na doktor pati engineer,” he added.
(I will not allow the opening of classes to the point that children would be close to each other. Never mind those who will not finish school. For this generation, no one would graduate as a doctor and an engineer.)
“Wala nang aral, laro na lang unless I am sure that they are really safe. It’s useless to be talking about the opening of classes. Para sa akin, bakuna muna,” Duterte said.
(There will be no more studies. They will just play unless I am sure that they are really safe. It’s useless to be talking about the opening of classes. For me, there should be a vaccine first.)
The DepEd announced earlier that the opening of classes would be on August 24, 2020, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said they consulted different stakeholders and surveyed around 700,0000 respondents before coming up with the decision.
Briones, however, clarified that this does not necessarily mean that students have to report to school physically. Classes may be conducted virtually in some areas, she said.
No COVID-19 vaccine, no classes
National Parents Teachers Association – Philippines meanwhile opposed DepEd’s decision saying the COVID-19 crisis cannot be addressed without a vaccine.
The Department of Education has approved the implementation of “blended” or “distant” learning methods for next year. Still, some parents worry that students or some of them may find it challenging to catch up or follow the class procedure.
“I think by the grace of God we will have the vaccine before the end of the year so mag-asa na lang tayo sa mga marunong [let’s leave it up to smart ones],” Duterte said.
“They are feverously working on it. ‘Pag nandiyan na yan, ako na ang magsabi labas na [if it;s already there, I will order to release it],” he added.