Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP), all Metro Manila mayors and barangay officials to keep students away from public places following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to suspend classes until March 14.
The Chief Executive declared the cancellation of classes as part of the preventive measures against the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The President has directed all local officials in NCR from mayor down to punong barangays as well as all the units of the Philippine National Police to ensure that no children are seen loitering around and, if they are seen, they are to be immediately sent home to do their homework,” Año said in a press statement.
“Our police officers and the barangay officials will serve as truant officers to ensure that kids stay at home. I have also directed all our Metro Manila mayors to personally direct their respective chiefs of police to implement the presidential directive,” he added.
Año called on the students’ parents to discipline and supervise their children’s activities, adding that the Department of Education has said it will give homework to students so they will still be productive despite class cancellations.
Meanwhile, Año also urged local government units to temporarily suspend mass gatherings to contain the spread of the illness.
“We have no choice but to undertake these measures because public health demands it. Together with sustained hygiene, suspensions of classes and mass gatherings will enable us to defeat this virus faster,” Año said.
According to Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the order to suspend classes and mass gatherings for the week was recommended by the Department of Health’s expert advisory group in order to lower the number of people exposed to the virus as well as to decrease the risk of transmission per contact.
As of posting time, the Philippines has 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency in the country. —KG, GMA News