The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) supports the move of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) to draw up new guidelines for the suspension of classes in the metropolis during bad weather conditions.
DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año says the decision of the Council to agree on a uniform policy for class suspension is necessary to keep students and workers who commute daily to and from school and their offices safe from heavy rain and flood.
“We are glad that the Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) have taken proactive steps on this matter considering the difficulty encountered by students and employees of returning home if class or work is suspended late,” says Año.
The DILG chief says the Department is willing to work with mayors and local government leagues in crafting the policy on class and work suspension.
“We are ready to assist the Council in whatever way we can to come up with the needed guidelines. Kailangan talagang mapag-usapan at mapagdesisyon na ito para sa kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mga estudyante at empleyado na sumusuong sa matinding baha at ulan sa kanilang pagpasok sa eskwelahan at opisina,” says Año.
On Tuesday, the MMC resolved to create unified guidelines on class suspension after several mayors were bashed and received threats on social media for late class suspensions. The government’s hotline 8888 was also flooded with complaints about mayors regarding non-suspension of classes.
DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya says that he understands the predicament faced by mayors in deciding whether to suspend classes and work or not because they have to take into consideration weather advisories and reports on the real situation on the ground.
“We recognize the difficulty of mayors in making an informed and wise decision each time there’s a bad weather. We hope that through the soon-to-be released policy and with constant collaboration with the concerned agencies of the government, they will be ably guided in making the right pronouncement that will be acceptable to the students, the workers, the parents and even the business community,” he says.
Malaya also reminds LGUs to always be guided by the Operation Listo manuals published by the Department that enumerate the actions that they should do before, during or after typhoons.
Earlier, the DILG urged local government units (LGUs) to be more prompt in declaring the cancellation of classes and work in their respective areas after receiving numerous complaints from the public regarding the late suspension of classes by some LGUs.
According to the DILG, local chief executives, as chairpersons of their respective local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMC), should be able to make wise and quick decisions based on the situation on the ground, especially during typhoons and calamities.
In 2012, Malacañang issued Executive Order No. 66 series of 2012, which gives local chief executives, as LDRRMC chairs, the power to cancel or suspend classes and work in government.