Duterte suspends Metro Manila classes from March 10-14 amid COVID-19 threat

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2020 10:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 10 2020 04:23 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced the suspension of classes in all levels in Metro Manila from March 10 to 14.

Duterte said he ordered the suspension of classes to protect students from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The reason being that parang tignan natin yung incubation period which is not ordinarily like a normal virus, 3 or 4, ito umaabot ng 14 days. So itong 14 days na ito, one is to keep safe the children; second is we're going to establish a benchmark kung ilan pa ang madagdagan. At kung ngayon itong walang klase, would it somehow reduce the number of the victims,” Duterte said.

"At ngayon kung itong walang klase, would it somehow reduce the number of the victims, if we keep our children sequestered at home and study there," he added.

Duterte, however, said that even during the class suspension, students should review their lessons at home. 

Barangay and police personnel will ensure the compliance of students, Duterte said.

Duterte, said students will still have to study at home even during class suspensions.

"Secretary of Education, si Briones, has insisted that they would stay home but study, and we have agreed that DILG at ang pulis will supervise as truant officers," Duterte said.

The President also said police and local officials will be talking to parents to ensure that students will still accomplish their school work even while at home.

"If they are there, they will be escorted to the parents, and for the parents to be lectured on the responsibilities of being a parent, that the children should study even while they are detained in their respective homes," Duterte explained.

The President said that the government inter-agency task force Metro Manila mayors will meet again March 14 to assess the effectivity of the measure.

Duterte, meanwhile, turned down proposals to suspend government work or implement a work-from-home scheme.

“You know, government has to function. We need all, at least now, we need all,” Duterte said.

Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno earlier ordered the suspension of classes from March 9 to March 15 in light of the "the growing number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the country."

Aside from Metro Manila, classes are also suspended Tuesday in Rodriguez and Cainta in Rizal.