Gatchalian calls for stricter monitoring in schools after reports of illegal drug alternatives

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 2, 2019   •   557

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture Senator Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian has called for stricter monitoring in schools after reports of students allegedly using illegal drug alternatives such as “magic mushroom”.

In a statement, Gatchalian said that it is alarming to hear reports about high school students using psychedelic mushrooms or ‘magic mushrooms’ commonly found in rural areas as a form of illegal drugs substitute.

Department of Education (Deped) Secretary Leonor Briones said that several high school students were hospitalized after using the said illegal drug substitute.

Gatchalian also said that this incident needs to be investigated further in order to come up with a solution for the safety of the students in the country.

“Marami rin tayong dapat malaman. Gaano na karami ang naiulat na ganitong uri ng insidente? Paano natuklasan ito ng mga mag-aaral? Saan ito laganap? At ano-ano ang naging mga epekto nito sa ating mag-aaral? (We also have a lot to be learned. How many similar incidents were reported? How did students discover it [magic mushrooms]? Where is it rampant? What are its effects on our students?), ” he said.—AAC

No opening of classes sans COVID-19 vaccine — Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he is not allowing the opening of classes unless an effective vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is discovered.

“I will not allow the opening of classes na dikit-dikit ang mga bata. Bahala na (kung) hindi na makatapos for this generation. Wala nang aral, laro na lang,” the President said adding that he’s most concerned about the safety of the students.

“Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it’s useless to talk about opening of classes. Para sa akin bakuna muna. Kapag nandiyan ang bakuna, okay lang,” he stressed.

Nonetheless, the President is optimistic that a vaccine against COVID-19 will be discovered before the year 2020 ends. 

This is the President’s position following the Department of Education’s (DepEd) announcement on the opening of classes on August 24.

READ: DepEd: Parents may enroll online starting June 1

The Department, also, announced the start of the enrollment process on June 1, though it encouraged parents to register their children online or through e-mail or phone calls to maintain social distancing measures in view of the risks of COVID-19 infection. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

LOOK: Deped’s proposed class seat arrangement for possible face-to-face learning

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 25, 2020

The Department of Education (Deped) has proposed classroom seating arrangements in case face-to-face learning will be implemented for the upcoming school year.

In a post, Deped reiterated there will be no face-to-face learning unless it is safe for students to go out. However, as part of their preparations for the opening of classes, they proposed a seating arrangement that will still adhere to social distancing.

Deped showed layouts for classrooms with armchairs and classrooms with tables and chairs. Both have a 1-meter distance to observe proper social distancing. AAC

DepEd: Parents may enroll online starting June 1

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) has reminded parents that enrollment in all public schools in the country, both elementary and secondary, will start on June 1, 2020.

The Department advises parents to prepare their children for the upcoming opening of classes on August 24.

DepEd Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo on Friday (May 22) said parents may enrol their children online or call the school so they don’t need to go personally to observe physical distancing. 

Meanwhile, parents may call DepEd’s hotline 8636-1663 and 8633-1942 or email the agency at action@deped.gov.ph for enrollment concerns though DepEd is still finalizing adjustments in the enrollment procedures. 

Parents will be asked about which learning system is applicable to their children in view of the adjustments due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

Enrollment runs until June 30.

“Sa bagong enrollment guidelines, ang kanilang dating class adviser ang siyang mag-i-input o kaya ay mag-e-enroll sa kanilang mga estudyante para sa susunod na school year, [Under the new enrollment guidelines, their former advisers will be the ones to input or enroll the students for the next school year],” Usec. Escobedo said.

“May mga platforms na gagamitin katulad ng online enrollment at meron ring SMS at pwede ring tawag thru hotlines na ibibigay ng mga eskwelahan, [There are platforms that are available like online enrollment, SMS, or they can call to the hotlines that their respective schools will provide,]” he added. 

Escobedo said DepEd is constantly coordinating with the House of Representatives as regards the adjustments that the agency wants to apply in the country’s education system in the coming school year. 

The official ascertained that the Department is now preparing all the needed learning materials based on the level of health risks of  COVID-19 infection. 

The DepEd official maintained that face-to-face classes remain restricted in areas that the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 identified as ‘high-risks.’

In relation to this, DepEd has issued a memorandum order detailing different options for alternative work arrangements among teaching and non-teaching staff under the Department to ensure that proper protocols are observed specifically social distancing and minimum health standards. 

Meanwhile, Escobedo said the DepEd is appealing to the HOR for additional funds in order to provide teachers with laptops that they need to cope with the new normal in the education system. 

The said additional funding, likewise, will be used to establish clinics in school premises, procurement of thermal scanners and hygiene kits. 

Sa Kongreso po ngayon ay pinag-u-usapan na po talaga ay ang mga susunod na batas para mapag-bigyan po talaga ang Executive Department na magkaroon sila ng flexibility na matugunan nila ang pangangailangan para dito sa panlaban sa Covid-19,” noted Rep. Roman Romulo, Chairman of the House Committee on Education.

[In fact in Congress at present, we are discussing a proposed bill that will grant the Executive Department flexibility in responding to the needs of the public to combat COVID-19.]

The HOR has asked DepEd to submit in July a concrete plan on how it will efficiently deliver the lessons to students without compromising the quality of education so that Congress will be able to assess the needed additional funding. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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