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House panels pass bill authorizing Duterte to set school opening

The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture and the Committee on Higher and Technical Education on Saturday approved a substitute bill that would empower President Rodrigo Duterte, on the recommendation of the Education Secretary, to set a different date for the start of the school year in case of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity.

The technical working group adopted the Senate version of the Substitute Bill seeking to amend Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7797, otherwise known as "An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) Days to Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days."

Early this week, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not allow the opening of classes until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes locally available.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque later on clarified that physical classes would not resume.

The Department of Education earlier announced that School Year 2020-2021 would start on August 24 using "blended forms" of learning to ensure the welfare of over 27 million basic education students and 1.2 million teaching and non-teaching personnel at public and private schools in the country. — DVM, GMA News