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Palace: President thumbed down face-to-face classes until August

President Rodrigo Duterte has ruled out face-to-face classes until August this year, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

“Nagdesisyon na po ang ating Presidente na wala pa ring face-to-face classes,” Roque said.

“Ayaw niya malagay sa alanganin ang buhay ng mga mag-aaral at guro habang wala pang nababakunahan sa bansa,” he added.

Roque, however, said that face-to-face classes could be considered by August in areas with low COVID-19 cases. 

In a press statement, Senator Bong Go said Duterte still has his apprehensions in resuming face-to-face classes amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Mismong si Pangulong Duterte ay nag-aalangan pa at ayaw niya munang payagan ang face-to-face classes. Delikado pa po daw kasi ang panahon," he said.

"Takot si Pangulo dahil ayon sa kanya, we are dealing with life here. Pwede namang sa next regular opening ng school year sa July o kapag ligtas na," he added.

Back in December, Duterte recalled his order allowing a dry run of face-to-face classes in January 2021 in select areas amid reports of a new COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom.

He nevertheless allowed limited face-to-face classes in schools offering courses on medicine and allied health sciences located in areas under general community quarantine and MGCQ.

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco earlier said that majority of the mayors in Metro Manila are in favor of putting the region under MGCQ next month.

The National Economic Development Authority has proposed placing the entire Philippines under the MGCQ starting March 1 supposedly to balance the country's response to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the need of Filipinos to start earning and spending.

However, Dr. Guido David of the OCTA Research Team said Wednesday the government could be taking a costly risk if the entire Philippines would be  placed under MGCQ.

Tiangco said nine mayors voted for MGCQ, while eight voted for GCQ during their meeting last Wednesday.

The result of the voting will be the official position of the Metro Manila Council that will be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which will then make the recommendation to the President for his consideration.

The League of Provinces of the Philippines has likewise said it is in favor of placing the entire country under MGCQ in March provided that governors are authorized to impose lockdowns or change their quarantine status if the need arises.

Roque earlier said it is likely that the President will approve the recommendation to transition to MGCQ.

Go urged the public to continue following minimum health standards while awaiting for the arrival and the actual distribution of the vaccines.

"Kaysa magmadali tayo na ibalik ang dati, mas paigtingin nalang muna natin ang ating pag-iingat at patuloy tayong mag-adapt sa ‘new normal’ habang hindi pa tayo nababakunahan," he said.

"Ginagawa na naman po natin ang lahat para masigurong may sapat, ligtas at epektibong bakuna tayo laban sa COVID-19 para sa mga Pilipino. Ilang araw nalang naman ang iintayin natin, huwag na nating isugal muna ang buhay ng ating kapwa hangga’t sigurado tayong ligtas na — at ang bakuna ang makakapagsiguro nito," he added.—with Erwin Colcol/AOL/RSJ, GMA News