Last Monday, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro instructed parents and students to simply follow the storm signal updates coming from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and stated that the DepEd will no longer issue statements suspending classes, in order to reduce confusion.
As of last Monday, Metro Manila was under storm signal no. 1, which meant that only pre-schools would not have classes; everybody else would have to prepare for school or work. Yesterday, Metro Manila was still under signal no. 1, so I got ready for work.
Yesterday, at around 10 am, with constant rain coming down from early morning onwards, the DepEd announced that classes were suspended as of 12 noon, which brought both joy and consternation to students and teachers alike. For the students, there was joy tempered with the worry about how they would get home with the sudden announcement. For the teachers, the announcement meant that lessons and tests had to be rescheduled, although there was still a feeling of joy since a day-off is still something to look forward to.
At the same time, the suspension meant that students who commute or walk to school would have to be exposed to the elements, or, worse, have to wade through flood waters.
I can't help but feel sore at the DepEd's inconsistency. If there was a possibility that classes would be suspended due to heavy rains, then Bro. Luistro shouldn't have announced that we should simply follow the PAGASA bulletins. By making that announcement, Bro. Luistro was divesting himself of the responsibility of properly informing students and parents regarding the status of classes during stormy weather.
It should also be noted that not a word of his inconsistency was in the newspapers this morning. Maybe the editors thought that it was not newsworthy?
The DepEd's inconsistency in dealing with such situations would have been disastrous had there been an "Ondoy"-type deluge; it should be remembered that, when "Ondoy" dropped a month's worth of rain in a day last year, Metro Manila was only under storm signal no. 1. The DepEd should be more proactive in dealing with situations like these, instead of the hand-washing that happened.