Vice President Leni Robredo has agreed that Filipino students should not be allowed back to school now because of the more transmissible and contagious Delta variant.
Robredo said students had a “missed opportunity” of attending face-to-face classes when many local government units (LGUs) had zero cases before the Delta variant became the dominant coronavirus strain in the country.
“Ngayong panahon na ito, agree ako na nakasara iyong mga paaralan. Pero ang sa akin, iyong nakalipas na isa’t kalahating taon, missed opportunity iyon. Iyong wala pa iyong Delta variant, sobrang daming (Today, I agree that schools should be closed. But for me, the past one-and-a-half years, that’s a missed opportunity. When there was no Delta variant yet, there are many) LGU all over the Philippines iyong walang cases (without cases),” she said.
“Sa nakalipas na isa’t kalahating taon, kung pinapasok natin iyon sa paaralan, ‘di ba, ang daming nasalba (In the past one-and-a-half years, if we allowed them to go to school, many could’ve studied),” Robredo added.
READ: DepEd says face-to-face classes remain a ‘possibility’
Schools cannot open today because a lot of teachers, who are included in the A4 category or essential economic workers, are not yet vaccinated.
The opposition leader also stressed that the country is still a long way from vaccinating those as young as 12 years old, similar to what other countries are doing.
It pains her that a lot of students, especially those in impoverished areas, are unable to go to school and learn.
Robredo warned about an “inter-generational” problem.
READ: Robredo says PH must deal with education crisis
“Kapag hindi na-educate lalo na iyong mga mahihirap, iyong wala masyadong access, malalayo…Kapag hindi sila nakaaral, pati iyong mga anak nila, magiging anak nila, damay (When we don’t educate especially the poor, those without access, they will be at par….When they don’t learn, even their kids will also be affected),” she said.
Last year, the vice president repeatedly called on the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Duterte administration to study the feasibility of opening schools in areas with low to zero COVID-19 cases.
Her office put up 58 Community Learning Hubs that served more than 4,000 students. But although she’s happy to learn that a lot of students learned how to read because of the hubs, she’s saddened by the fact that others did not have access to them.
Robredo said her learning hubs were heavily politicized, so much so that there is one LGU in Metro Manila that originally agreed to work with her but backed down after President Duterte spoke against the hubs.
“Okay lang naman sana kung nagkaroon ng alternative na mode na binigay para may chance iyong mga estudyante na makapag-aral. Wala (It would’ve been okay if there’s an alternative mode to give a chance for students to learn. There was none),” she added.
Despite her stormy relationship with the administration, Robredo shrugged off such hindrances and said she will just continue working with LGUs who want to partner with her.
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