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Bill allowing start of classes beyond August now for Duterte’s signature

The ball is now in Malacañang whether or not to pass the legislative measure seeking to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to reschedule the opening of classes at any date beyond August.

Senate Bill No. 1541 was adopted and approved on final reading by the House of Representatives on Thursday, making it an enrolled bill.

The proposed measure seeks to amend Section 3 of RA 7797, or the "Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from 200 Days to Not More Than 220 Class Days."

Under the existing law, the school year for basic education in the country may open as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

The bill gives the President, upon the recommendation of the Education Secretary, the authority to set a different date for the start of classes in the entire country or selected areas during a state of emergency or state of calamity.

It covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the Philippines.

Despite the Department of Education's announcement that classes will open on August 24, several lawmakers still pushed for the swift passage of the bill for contingency purposes, in case the COVID-19 situation worsens.

The DepEd earlier assured that face-to-face interactions would not be allowed in most schools when the classes start in August.

Duterte vowed to "scrape the bottom of the barrel" to fund the alternative forms of learning being proposed by the DepEd. — RSJ, GMA News