We can't ban educational trips, says DepEd official
MANILA -- The Department of Education (DepEd) is now planning to review its policies and guidelines on field trips following the death of a high school student in Tanay, Rizal last week, Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said Wednesday.
Umali said DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro has ordered the agency to look into its rules on educational trips after it was reported that a bus ran over two high school students of Holy Spirit Academy during a field trip at Camp Mateo Capinpin last Friday.
Fourteen-year-old Rio Bianca "Cacai" Ramirez was killed, and 15-year-old Pamela Enriquez was injured after a parked bus that rolled downhill ran over them.
"Titingnan po namin 'yung ating patakaran ukol diyan sa field trip," Umali told radio dzMM Wednesday morning.
"Una, kailangang tingnan mabuti 'yung layo ng kanilang pupuntahan. Pangalawa, 'yung bus na gagamitin. Paguusapan po namin lahat 'yan," he added.
He also said that schools should always provide the students as well as their parents the itinerary for the whole trip.
But despite the freak accident that happened last week, Umali said the DepEd cannot impose a total ban on educational trips.
He noted that not everything can be taught and learned inside the classrooms.
"Ang akin pong panawagan sa mga magulang na sana po maunawaan natin na 'di po talaga natin maaaring ipagbawal po ng pangkalahatan ang field trip lalo na't kung ito'y educational."
"Kasi po tanggap po ng kagawaran na 'di po lahat ng dapat ituro ay matutunan po sa loob ng silid-aralan," he said.
DepEd's current guidelines
Umali said the DepEd's policies and guidelines on field trips include requiring parents to submit written authorization for their children.
He also said that it is in the agency's rules that students should not be forced to attend a trip if they do not have the financial capacity to pay for the trip's expenses.
"Ang atin pong mga anak ay dapat pong merong...written authorization from their parents," Umali said.
"At hindi po dapat pipilitin ang mga anak kung sila po ay walang kakayahang magbayad."
He added that those who are not able to attend the trip should not be punished by the school. "'Di po sila dapat maparusahan. Dapat mayroon pong equivalent activity na dapat ibigay," Umali said.
Schools responsible for students despite waivers
Umali also clarified that schools have the responsibility to ensure that no untoward incidents will happen to their students despite the parents' signing of waivers.
"'Yung waiver po, sa mga abogado lalo po pag tinanong po ninyo, wala pong bisa 'yan eh. Lalo na po pag ang sitwasyon ay mayroon pong pagpapabaya, 'yung tinatawag nating negligence, sa sinumang sumulat ng waiver," he said.
This is why parents should always be cautious when allowing their children to go on field trips.
"Kung talaga pong may pagaalinlangan ang ating magulang, huwag ho nilang pasamahin," Umali said.