President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night announced the suspension of classes in all levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) from March 10 to 14 as the cases of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country rose to 24.
“We have decided to…the clamor also of the mayors probably much worried than so it is a consensus by the body that classes will be suspended in NCR beginning tomorrow and it will end on March 14,” Duterte said in a press briefing after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Malacañang.
Duterte said the reason for the suspension of classes is to ensure the health and safety of students and establish a benchmark on the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“Kung itong walang klase (We want to find out if suspending classes), would it somehow reduce the number of the victims,” he said.
Despite staying home, he said Education Secretary Leonor Briones insisted that students should continue to study their lessons.
He said he will assign officers from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP)as “truant officers” to ensure students continue reviewing at home.
“We have agreed that DILG at ang (the) police will supervise as truant officers. So yung nandiyan sa labas, tatanungin sila magdadala ng libro (So those outside, they’ll be ask. If they are there, they will be escorted to the parents and for the parents to be lectured on the responsibilities of being a parent that children should study even while they are detained in their respective homes,” he said.
He said Briones wanted to assure that “there is no stoppage in education.”
On March 14, Duterte said he will be holding another meeting with the task force on updates on government efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
He assured that the government has enough funds to address Covid-19 in the country and that all infected persons will get well.
“We have the money to combat itong Covid-19. I assure you, we have the money and we can defeat t******ng virus na ‘yan (that virus),” he said. “Yung 24 gagaling ‘to (These 24, they’ll get well).”
He said he believed the Covid-19 would not last long.
“I’m sure scientists all over the world are working overtime to look for the vaccine. Hindi ito magtatagal (This won’t last). I’m confident that we will survive this contagion,” he said.
Duterte, however, said he does not consider a suspension of government work anytime soon.
“Government has to function. We need all, at least now,” he said.
Meanwhile, he also called on the public to refrain from sowing hate against Chinese nationals simply because the virus originated from China. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)