LGUs should decide on class suspensions, DepEd asserts

MANILA Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones on Wednesday opposed calls to bring back the task of suspending classes during rainy days to her agency, stressing that local government units were in a better position to do so.

It used to be the task of the DepEd but the public was complaining. Usually what we want to do, what lawmakers wanted to do is to save time, Briones said.

Briones also pointed out that the country has over 7,000 islands with very different weather conditions so it made better sense for local executives to declare class suspensions.

We have varying weather conditions this is why local government units are so much more on the ground. The reason behind the policy of asking local government units is they would be much faster. They are right there where the flood is, where the storm is, Briones said.

Moreover, she said that local executives also knew about their constituents' concerns.

It is usually the local officials who love their people and immediately go out when there is a storm or disaster to find out what is happening. They go there much faster and earlier than we can ever do so, she added.

Briones, however, acknowledged that local executives would usually get the blame for the timeliness of suspending classes.

The issue here is who gets the blame. Some local government units are not happy about being blamed as to the timeliness of the decision, Briones said.

Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also rejected calls to revert the authority to suspend classes to the DepEd, noting that there were local disaster risk reduction management councils tasked to monitor rainfall, flooding, and landslides in their localities.

DILG Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III, meanwhile, said his agency is currently eyeing the creation of guidelines for suspension of classes amid concerns that some local executives fail to suspend classes on time.

Executive Order No. 66 gives local chief executives the authority to suspend classes during heavy rains and massive flooding even without a storm signal. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency