News Release

PRRD defers pilot face-to-face classes anew until after vaccination rollout – Palace

“Wala pa rin po tayong face-to-face classes sa bansa.”

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr announced this today, February 22, after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte decided once again to defer the implementation of the proposed pilot face-to-face classes in low-risk areas until after the country’s national vaccination program against COVID-19 has been rolled out.

“Tumawag po kagabi ang Presidente sa akin at ang sabi niya ayaw niya pong malagay sa panganib o alanganin ang buhay ng ating mga mag-aaral at mga guro habang wala pa pong nababakunahan sa bansa,” said Secretary Roque during today’s press briefing in Malacañang.

The President’s decision, according to Secretary Roque, is without prejudice to any other proposal that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) may have, because the deferment of the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes pertains only to the proposal of the Department of Education (DepEd), which only covers elementary and high school education.

“It is also without prejudice to the Secretary of Education submitting all relevant information that they gathered preparatory to their move to reopen discussion on the holding of pilot face-to-face classes. I understand that the Department of Education has conducted a survey involving at least a million respondents and the overwhelming sentiment is that the learners themselves want to resume with face-to-face classes. And I think this is without prejudice to the Secretary of Education presenting this study to the President,” said Sec. Roque.

The Palace official added, “Sabi niya may awa po ang Panginoon, baka naman po matapos natin malunsad ang ating vaccination program eh pupwede na tayong mag face-to-face … lalong-lalo na doon sa mga lugar na mababa po ang COVID cases.”

“I guess what he is anticipating is that since we will begin vaccination this month, we would be way ahead of our vaccination program in August to give us the confidence to resume at least limited face-to-face education,” said Sec. Roque.

On another matter, Sec. Roque provided update on typhoon Auring, which as of writing was reported to have weakened already from a Tropical Storm to a Tropical Depression.

According to the February 22, 2021 situation report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), there are now 13, 816 families or 53, 236 persons who have been affected by the typhoon in 216 barangays in Regions X, XI, and CARAGA, said Sec. Roque.

Of this number, 12,825 families or 49,236 individuals are currently staying in 308 evacuation centers.

Some P510,158 worth of assistance have been given to affected families in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur in CARAGA, as of February 22, 2021, Roque said.

Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta, who was a resource speaker in the said press briefing, said that the Philippines and Russia are already in very advanced discussions with regard to the Russian-made vaccine. What is left to do right now, said Amb. Sorreta, is for the Russian manufacturer to provide the additional information that the Philippine Food and Drug Administration is asking to be able to proceed further with negotiations. ### OPS-PCOO