July 06, 2020 - Monday
Website Name Image
Weather icon
26.85 ℃, Broken clouds
Davao City, Philippines

The Filipino people have Digong’s back

May 28, 2020 - Thursday 4:05 AM by Jimmy Laking

Article Banner Image

Like I said, the senior citizen in me is glad that it is a grizzled warrior named Digong ramrodding this country in the war against the noble coronavirus pandemic.

But his decision to reject the opening of the upcoming school year in August says something more. I think it is partly the father in him that revealed itself when he made that decision, shooting down in the process the resolve of the Department of Education (DepEd) to proceed with the opening of the new school year. In this, the Filipino people have his back.

Digong did not mince words: “I will not allow the opening of classes where students are close to each. Never mind if they or this generation can’t finish as doctors and engineers. No more studies, just play unless I am sure they are really safe.”

Digong said it is useless talking about opening of classes when there is yet no vaccine against the COVID-19 virus.

“Para sa akin, bakuna muna,” he stressed.

I second the motion. Typical of granddaddies elsewhere, I am also a parent helping send a grandchild to school.

She is impatient to go to school. But I said President Duterte (at the same time indicating the TV where Duterte was shown addressing Filipinos) will not allow it for her sake and for the millions of pupils out there.

My neighbors are also of like mind. No one is willing to risk sending his child to school haphazardly. Digong knows best, one said.

Another pointed out the obvious: not anybody can afford to do on-line schooling for their children.

With millions of children listed in the registry of schools nationwide, the task of enforcing social distancing will be a nightmare.

One neighbor who sends two of her children to the Sta. Ana Elementary School where classrooms average 40 to 50 pupils each predicted half of the students cannot be accommodated at the classrooms if social distancing is enforced.

Indeed, with an average enrollment of 200,000 pupils every school year, Davao City’s 285 elementary schools will have to add more classrooms and more teachers to enable them to give uninterrupted instruction, face to face.

The proposal to go on-line does not wash.

Our internet facility remains Third World and will not be able to cope. Nor can you expect millions of Filipino schoolchildren to be able to go online for sheer lack of laptops or smartphones. We do not have what it takes to go online, that is the long and short of it.

And as a teacher in Buhangin pointed out, it is difficult to stay focused and provide quality education when the conditions are not right.

Economics-wise, the proposal to open classes in August comes just on the heels of the pandemic outbreak that ate up income and savings. Will most Filipino families be able to recover enough by August so as to send their children to school without second thought?

For realistic reasons, reopening the schools by August is not the right time.

Search me but methinks Digong factored all that into the equation. This time around, the Filipino people have his back.