MANILA, Philippines – Following the drowning of two international school students at a waterfall in Bataan, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday said it studying the possibility of banning schools from conducting outdoor field trips to prevent accidents.
DepEd Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said the department, based on Department Order 52 series of 2003, only encourages educational field trips in places such as museums, science fairs and exhibits, and other historical sites.
"Ang mga ganyang lugar, sa kasawiang palad, itong nangyari ay 'di ine-ecourage ng DepEd. Kaya pinag-aaralan namin kung dapat ipag-patuloy pa ang mga ganitong non-educational activities," Umali said, referring to the students' trip to a waterfall in Subic in Bataan where two students died.
The victims were identified as 14-year-old Jae Hak Jun and 13-year-old Kyle David Gullas Weckman, a grandson of former Cebu Congressman Dodong Gullas.
The victims were part of a group of students from Cebu International School who went to Sitio Canauan for an outreach program.
The students went swimming after lunch and 4 of them went missing after a few hours.
Two of the students were rescued while 2 others drowned.
The body of Jun was recovered at around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday while body of Weckman was recovered 8 a.m. on Thursday.
Umali said the DepEd is already conducting an investigation into the incident. The school may be held responsible for its supposed neglect.
He also reminded schools that outdoor trips should not be made compulsory because some students may not have enough money to pay for the fees.