University of Santo Tomas

Isko Moreno OKs face-to-face classes in UST medical programs

Rambo Talabong

TOP MEDICAL SCHOOL. UST's iconic main building.

Image courtesy of WikiCommons

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno reminds University of Santo Tomas officials that students cannot be forced to attend face-to-face classes

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has approved the plan of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to hold face-to-face classes for its medical and allied health programs, the Manila Public Information Office announced on Wednesday, February 3.

“It was approved after UST officials met with [Moreno] to discuss how the educational institution will observe health and safety protocols, manage occupancy capacity, and implement contingency plans should students, faculty or staffers develop COVID-19 symptoms, among others,” the office said in a statement.

UST is among the top medical schools in the Philippines, with its students consistently placing high in medical board exams.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Health (DOH) requires higher educational institutions eyeing limited face-to-face classes to consult with their respective local government units.

“Consider it approved. We will just follow the memoranda of CHED,” the Manila mayor was quoted by his office as telling UST officials during a meeting.

Moreno reminded the officials, however, that students cannot be forced to attend face-to-face classes. “Huwag ‘nyong pilitin ang ayaw (Let’s not force those who do not want to).”

The government had earlier allowed the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to resume its clinical internship program. PGH is a major COVID-19 referral hospital catering to patients in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

As of Wednesday, February 3, the city of Manila has recorded 26,601 COVID-19 cases, including  25,424 recoveries and 787 deaths. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.