MANILA— Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday issued a show cause order against the University of the East (UE) for supposedly defying the local government's week-long "health break" for all classes across the city.
The suspension, which covers both public and private schools at all levels, will be implemented from Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, 2022. It also covers both physical and online classes.
“If it’s clear to you that I don’t have authority, go find yourself a local government unit. You may go," Domagoso said in a video streamed on his Facebook page.
"It must be emphasized that such weeklong health break will afford the students and faculty members the time to physically and mentally recharge... or to recover for those currently infected by COVID-19," the show cause order read.
A source in Manila City Hall said the local chief executive called for an online stream on Thursday afternoon to respond to an article posted online about the matter.
The article cited University of the East (UE) President Ester Garcia, who allegedly aired her opposition to the declaration of class suspension issued by the mayor on Thursday morning.
She asserted that mayors have no authority to suspend classes at the tertiary level. UE, however, suspended classes in Kindergarten to Grade 12 from Jan. 14 to 21 in line with Domagoso's order.
But Domagoso reminded the UE president that Section 60 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code gives the authority to local chief executives.
“'Yung kapangyarihang pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng higit na nakararami or the general welfare. Mabigat po yun, yung section 60 na yun. At yan nagagamit po yan ng alkalde, lalo na kapag may bagyo, may sunog, may lindol, pagputok ng ng bulkan o mga disaster calamity area, na sitwasyon,” Domagoso said.
(The power to protect the welfare of everyone is a heavy responsibility. It is under Section 60 and it is used by local chief executives when there are typhoons, fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or disasters, calamities.)
He also invoked the Commission on Higher Education's Memorandum Order 15 Series of 2012.
He read the provision which states that classes at the collegiate level, including graduate school, may be cancelled or suspended at the discretion of the local chief executive or the local government units, if special circumstances in the area arises, for example, floods, road damage, among others.
The mayor said this was not the first time that Garcia defied the local government of Manila.
He said the first instance was when the university refused to suspend classes on orders of the city government while all other schools abided.
“Because you did this twice already. Eh sabi nga po ni FPJ, puno na po ang salop. On the way po sa inyo ngayon, on the way na po. You will receive, as we speak, ito pong show cause order,” he said.
(FPJ said it is already enough. The show cause order is on the way already.)
UE now has to respond in writing or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org in a period of 72 hours or 3 days from the receipt of copy, why a cease and desist order should not be issued against the school.
"So you have to explain why we should allow for you to have such privilege to do business in Manila. Your business is a privilege given to you under the regulatory authority unit thru its local chief executive o sa madaling salita, alkalde,” he added.
He reminded Garcia that UE, like any other business establishment, is welcome in Manila, with the assurance that no abuse will come to them.
"But the sauce for the gander is the sauce for the goose. Ayaw ko rin negosyante, nanggi-gipit sa kanyang empleyado, sa kanyang customer, o mga kliyente, o mga negosyanteng nag-aabuso sa pamayanan," the mayor added.
(I don't like businessmen abusing their employees, customers, or clients.)
The Philippines is facing a fresh wave of new infections most likely driven by the omicron variant.
On Thursday, the Department of Health confirmed over 34,000 new cases, the highest ever daily tally since the pandemic began.
— Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News