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Sotto to push bill on adjusting school calendar despite DepEd decision to open classes on August 24

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he would still push for the bill seeking to grant authority to President Rodrigo Duterte to move the schedule of opening of classes despite the Department of Education's announcement that the school year will start on August 24.

"Yes. Because my bill gives the President the power to adjust [the] school calendar unlike the previous law," Sotto answered in the affirmative when asked by reporters.

Sotto recently filed Senate Bill No. 1438 which aims to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act No. 7977 or the Act on Lengthening of School Calendar.

The said provision in the existing law states that the "school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August."

Sotto said his proposed measure would also "give the Department of Education (DepEd) more time and opportunity to prepare and adopt measures for the new normal of the education system," considering the COVID-19 situation.

Further, he said it is important to make such amendment as part of the contigency plan.

"If August [ang pasukan], we don't need the law 'di ba pero what if there is a second wave [of COVID-19 transmission]? Paano kung may second wave? Paano sasagutin ng DepEd 'yan? They will be violating the law dahil ia-adjust nila," he said in a virtual interview.

"It is very important. Otherwise, the executive department will violate a law," he added.

The bill filed on the heels of the recommendation of the inter-agency task force in-charge of COVID-19 response to move the opening of classes to September.

A similar bill seeking to give flexibility to DepEd on adjusting the schedule of the academic year opening "in case of a declaration of a state of emergency, state of calamity or similar occurrence" was also filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.

The DepEd, however, announced on Monday that School Year 2020-2021 will start on August 24— RSJ, GMA News