LGUs should decide on class suspension, not DepEd says order

LGUs should decide on class suspension, not DepEd says order

On January 9,2016, former president Benigno Aquino III signed Executive Order (EO) 66, delegating to local chief executives the authority to cancel or suspend classes and work  in government in case heavy rains and massive flooding occur even without a storm signal.

In the absence of typhoon signal warnings from PAGASA, localized cancellation/suspension of classes in both public and private schools and work in government offices may be implemented by local chief executives in their capacity as chairpersons of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRMC).

Any decision to cancel or suspend classes must come from the local government. A school head (SH) may only cancel or suspend classes in cases where urgent action is needed to prevent loss of life or bodily harm.

As stated in Section 2 of EO No. 66, LGU officials are expected to announce cancellation or suspension not later than 4:30 a.m. for whole day cancellation or suspension, or not later than 11:00 a.m. for afternoon cancellation or suspension.

Teaching personnel handling cancelled or suspended classes are likewise allowed to leave their stations in consideration of the work they will need to undertake during make-up classes. 

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said the local government units have the authority to announce class suspension since they know their localities best.

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Briones said, "It is usually the local officials who love their people, who immediately go out when there is a storm or a disaster. To find out what is happening, they go there very much faster and earlier than we could ever do so."

"And the reason behind the policy of asking local government is in terms of timeliness. They would be much faster, because they're right there where the storm is, where the flood is, where the earthquake is before the DepEd officials will ever have an opportunity to go," Briones added.

Local officials are tasked to declare class suspension before 4:30 a.m. for morning sessions and before 11 a.m. for afternoon sessions. Some students and parents, keep on complaining about the failure of their local executives to declare the suspension of classes in a timely manner.

"But local government units are so much more on the ground and they know what is really happening. As I said, local officials, especially at this time, I'm very sure, they're very concerned and they love their constituents, especially the children and the parents of the children," the secretary added

On the other hand, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año said local chief executives who are chairpersons of their respective local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMC), should be able to make wise and quick decisions based on the situation on the ground on whether to suspend classes or not.

“We are putting minors at risk when we delay class suspensions. We must not wait for the flood levels to become critical before making the announcements,” said Año

“Given the country’s vulnerability to storms, it’s better for us to ensure the safety of our constituents in advance than to be sorry when it’s too late,” he added.