Press Release
August 15, 2012


Following the recent devastation caused by typhoons and monsoons, which resulted in a series of suspension of classes across the country, the Senate revisited on Tuesday proposals to move the beginning of the school year from June to September.

"It is important for us to consider these things when discussing the welfare of our students. Aside from disaster risk management, we should also think about how the bad weather affects our educational system," said Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, during the committee hearing held yesterday.

According to Flaviana Hilario, the weather bureau's deputy administrator on research and development, the Philippines receives the most number of cyclones in the world, an average of 20 a year.

Hilario explained that different parts of the Philippines have varying rainfall distribution. On the western side of the country, which includes Metro Manila, the rainy season is from June to October, while the eastern or Pacific side is wet from September to November.

Angara noted that whether the school year opens in June or September, students on the Pacific side would still be affected by typhoons.

The senator further pointed out that the western side is more populated and developed than the Pacific side so fewer students would be affected in the east.

On the other hand, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, who was also present during the Senate hearing, enumerated the concerns of stakeholders should the opening of classes be moved from June to September and eat up the summer months.

Firstly, Luistro said there are many long holidays during the summer months, including cultural and family reunions, fiestas, and holy week.

In agricultural areas, most of the young ones help their family harvest during the summer months. The extreme hot temperature during those months may also make it more difficult for schools to hold classes, he added.

"Based on the data, there is very little additional advantage for the schools nationwide if we move the opening of classes from June to September. The benefits are confined only to NCR and some regions," the education secretary said.

Angara, however, said the Senate committee on education is still open for discussion and would review all the data gathered in the hearing.

"The safety of our children should remain our top priority but we would still welcome suggestions where we could secure both their safety and learning process," he concluded.

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