Press Release
March 3, 2021

One News Now interview with Rizza Diaz on face-to-face classes

Q: Sir, how will the pilot testing be done and should we base it on the current quarantine statuses?

SEN. WIN: Actually, apparently it's based on the quarantine categories. But, earlier in the hearing, we recommended to DepEd to expand it to include other epidemiological measurements such as transmission rates, such as other measures that doctors use. So aside from the quarantine categories, it has to be scientific based. It has to be, they have to consult the doctors also and experts to come up with a much more accurate risk-based category.

Q: Senator has the DepEd presented a plan on identifying the schools that will be part of the said pilot?

SEN WIN: They presented a framework earlier and the framework is quite simple. The framework actually includes only two categories or two criteria. Number one is the warranty levels. And then number two, if the barangay experienced zero COVID for the last 30 days then you're qualified to be a pilot school or pilot area. But we told them that takes more sophisticated measurements to determine that. So we recommended to employ experts, such as epidemiologists and at the same time, other experts that can calculate the risk of that area. And this was confirmed by other doctors who are invited in the hearing. Doctors who are part of the Philippine Pediatric Society. So in other words, in short, we recommended to DepEd to come up with a risk-based analysis using other accepted measurements, such as the transmission rates, such as other measurements, and to determine the actual risk of that area.

Q: So far, how many nominated pilot schools do we have? Would there be schools from NCR?

SEN WIN: The target is about 1,065 schools. That's the target and those 1,065 schools will start from a recommendation from the superintendent and a concurrence from the local government unit. So, in other words, there is a shared responsibility between the superintendent, the school, and also the local government unit and no, NCR will not be part of that or any GCQ areas will not be part of that.

Q: Senator, finally what are your suggestions regarding safety protocols, you know, how can we ensure the safety of the students and teachers?

SEN WIN: There's no compromise to safety. Government needs to invest in health protocols in the schools. So, for example hand washing facilities, alcohol dispensers, PPEs. They should be supplied by the schools. But on top of that, the local schools, or DepEd in the regions should also make sure that there is the framework or the framework for response is also there. So for example, if something happens in the school, for example one teacher gets contaminated or one school official gets contaminated, they know how to respond, they know who to call. There is ample support to give in terms of treatment and hospitalization if needed.

Q: Since you mentioned that, what's your reaction to the proposal to include teachers in vaccine priority list?

SEN WIN: They should be. Teachers should be included in the priority list. They should be considered as frontliners, although in education. A lot of countries have been doing this or more than a dozen countries has categorized features as frontliners and included them in the priority list. So, education, in many countries is viewed as an essential service from the government. In fact, in the whole world, there are only 14 countries that have not opened schools. The Philippines is included in that. But here in the region in Southeast Asia and the Pacific it's only the Philippines that has not opened school yet. So, we're one of the few countries that have not opened school yet. So, in order to open school safely, you have to make sure that our teachers are protected and the best way to do that is to administer the vaccine to them.

News Latest News Feed