San Jose del Monte, Bulacan Congresswoman Rida Robes on Tuesday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that no physical classes will be held until a vaccine has been discovered for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We cannot force our own schedules on [COVID-19]. It is best to wait for a vaccine to be developed or for more definite medical interventions to be easily available,” she said in a statement.
“Otherwise, we would be risking the lives of all the students, as well as their teachers, school employees, and their respective family members,” Robes added.
Duterte earlier said he will not entertain talks about the opening of classes until a COVID-19 vaccine has been found.
Robes said she was thankful for Duterte’s intervention on the issue of the opening of classes because the Department of Education (DepEd) was “adamant” about opening the school year in August “even if we have not yet totally contained the virus.”
"To be frank, a lot of people thought that the DepEd has been rather insensitive about the matter," she said. "I'd rather sacrifice the school year rather than the lives of students and Filipinos in general.”
The DepEd earlier clarified that the opening of classes in August does not mean that students will have to return to the classroom since distance learning measures will be implemented.
At the Senate, several lawmakers share Robes' sentiment and believe that the opening of classes should be pushed back to after August.
"I think August may be too soon to open schools and that it can be pushed back a few weeks or months. This, however, requires amending the law," Senator Sonny Angara said in a message to reporters.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also said that, as a mother, she had reservations on the opening of classes.
"Safety first para sa mga bata. Bilang mama, I can't imagine risking the life and health of our children. We have to postpone the opening of classes as we think of alternative infrastructures for home-based learning," Hontiveros said in her statement. -MDM, GMA News