DepEd cool to moving school opening to Sept

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2012 05:12 PM | Updated as of Aug 15 2012 04:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Moving the opening of classes from June to September because of the weather may benefit some places like the National Capital Region (NCR) but not the whole country, according to the Department of Education.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro noted differences in weather patterns in different parts of the Philippines.

"Obviously, we cannot have a different start of the school year recognizing that the country may have different ways of experiencing the weather," he said during an education committee hearing on Tuesday.

Earlier in the hearing, an official of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) described differences in climate types in the western and eastern parts of the country based on historical data.

Flaviana Hilario, Pagasa's acting deputy administrator for research and development, said the rainy season in the western section peaks from May to September. This includes the NCR, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Zambales, and Tarlac, among others.

On the other hand, the country's eastern section--including Aurora, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, and others--experiences the most rains from October to January.

"Kung magbabago tayo ng opening ng classes, 'yong isang side mag-uumpisa sila sa start ng rainy season," Hilario told reporters.

Looking at Pagasa's data, Luistro told senators that should the opening of classes be moved to September, "it looks like there is very little additional advantage if we look at things nationwide."

He also cited concerns from stakeholders that holding classes during the summer months may hinder students from enjoying cultural traditions like festivals held at that time.

"And, of course, the temperature during the summer months will be difficult for us to hold classes," Luistro said.

Classes in the Philippines begin in June, when several weather disturbances hit the country. As a result, classes often have to be suspended.

Several lawmakers have proposed that the opening of classes be moved to September for students' safety and to lessen class disruptions.