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Duterte Signs New Law Allowing Him to Adjust Reopening of Schools

Republic Act 11480 authorizes President Duterte to adjust the start of the school year in times of a state emergency.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has previously said that they will be pushing through with the reopening of classes on August 24 despite COVID-19 cases still rising in the country. Many have expressed their concern with this decision, as not everyone has the means to purchase the gadgets needed for online learning. Some also don’t have access to the internet, particularly those living in far-flung areas where digital infrastructures are limited.

Given the that the pandemic remains a threat to every Filipino’s health and safety, physical classes are obviously also not ideal. Even President Rodrigo Duterte himself has agreed to this, saying that he would prefer to postpone the holding of physical classes until a vaccine is discovered and produced. (Read: How Close Are We to Finding a COVID-19 Vaccine?)

To ease the worry of parents with regards to the reopening of the school year, the president has signed into law a bill that will allow him to set school resumption dates for particular provinces and areas. Republic Act 11480 will now allow him to adjust the start of the school year, upon the recommendation of DepEd, during a state of emergency. (Read: An Expert Explains Why You Should Consider Homeschooling Your Kids)

The law will be covering all grade schools and high schools, including international and foreign schools, and will be effective once it is published in the Official Gazette or a newspaper in general circulation.

Previously, the Republic Act 11480 stated that the school year should start on the first Monday of June and no later than the last day of August. But with the approved amendments, if the country is in a state of emergency, the president can decide whether or not to change the dates.

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