DILG to local officials: Suspend classes faster
MANILA, Philippines – Suspending classes late could get local officials in trouble, warned the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday, July 30.
In a statement, DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año said declaring class suspensions early is a sign that local officials and disaster response officers know what's happening on the ground. Announcing late points to the contrary.
"Dapat ang local chief executives ay laging manguna sa sitwasyon, lalo na kung panahon ng bagyo at kalamidad. Kailangang aktibong imonitor ang kundisyon ng panahon at aktuwal na kaganapan sa kanilang lokalidad. Hindi puwedeng tutulog-tulog," Año said.
(Local chief executives should always be on top of the situation, especially during typhoons and calamities. They should be actively monitoring weather conditions and the actual situation in their localities. They cannot slack off.)
Why the order? Año received complaints from local DILG units that some local officials only declare class suspensions after students have gone to school, forcing them to brave floods as they return home.
Students often complain about delayed class suspensions on social media. The hashtag #WalangPasok is one of the top trending topics during the rainy season, with comments ranging from the serious to the humorous. (READ: 'Mayor, suspend na please': Netizens' hilarious reaction to class suspensions)
What's the punishment? Charges may be filed if local officials fail to act despite warnings from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
According to the DILG, local officials can base class suspensions either on tropical cyclone warning signals or on color-coded rainfall advisories from PAGASA. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
"Erring officials who are too lazy to wake up to suspend classes even though PAGASA has declared its warning signals may be charged with gross neglect of duty," Año said.
"Given the country's vulnerability to storms, it's better for us to ensure the safety of our constituents in advance than to be sorry when it's too late," he added. (READ: How do LGUs decide on localized class suspensions?) – Rappler.com