Duterte still studying proposal to hold face-to-face classes

President Rodrigo Duterte is still studying the proposal of the country’s chief economist to resume pilot face-to-face (F2F) classes in areas where Covid-19 risk is low, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua renewed his pitch for the resumption of in-person classes, stressing the need to minimize long-term effects on learning and productivity.

Roque said it will depend on whether Duterte is satisfied with the number of Filipinos who have already been inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine.

“It will really depend kung gaano karami na po ang gustong makita ni Presidenteng nabakunahan na pero ngayon po mahigit medyo marami-rami na rin pong nabakunahan natin e let’s just say na siguro tinitignan ni Presidente kung mayroong nang enough confidence na magsimula ng pilot (It will really depend on how many people the President wants to see vaccinated but now we have vaccinated more than a few. Let’s just say that maybe the President is looking to see if there is enough confidence to start a pilot),” he said in a Palace press briefing.

He, however, could not give an estimate as to how many Filipinos should have received their shots before Duterte allows the holding on pilot in-person classes.

“Wala pong sinabi si Presidente pero ang sinabi lang niya gusto niyang makita na magsimula na ang pagbabakuna ng ating mga kababayan (The President did not say anything but he just said that he wanted to see the vaccination of our countrymen begin),” he said.

He said it is best to wait for the Department of Education (DepEd) to submit a new proposal to hold a dry run of F2F classes in select schools in areas with low-risk of infection during the next Cabinet meeting.

“I’m sure in the next Cabinet meeting si Secretary Briones may again recommend the implementation nitong (of) pilot face-to-face classes. Antayin po natin muli ang magiging rekomendasyon ng Department of Education at magiging aksyon ng ating Presidente (Let’s just wait again for the recommendation of the Department of Education and the action of our President),” he added.

Duterte last December approved the proposal of the Department of Education (DepEd) to hold a dry run of F2F classes in select schools in areas with low-risk of infection.

He eventually withdrew the plan after a new variant of Covid-19, which is allegedly more infectious, has been detected in the United Kingdom (UK) and has already been reported in other neighboring countries.

Duterte earlier said the government’s mass immunization program is moving at “full throttle” in time for the proposed F2F pilot implementation.

On April, Roque raised the possibility that the pilot in-person classes might be held by August this year.

More than five million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered since the Philippines launched its vaccination drive on March 1.

The Philippines is aiming to achieve “population protection” against Covid-19 by inoculating 50 to 60 percent of the population with concentration in Metro Manila, two other cities, and six provinces. PNA.GOV.PH