In the absence of typhoon signals from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), it is up to the concerned local government units to declare any suspension of classes in their area of jurisdiction during bad weather.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said such responsibility now lies with the local government officials as they are in a better position to assess the local situation.
Valte said any affected LGU could immediately assess the extent of rains and floods affecting their community and expeditiously effect the cancellation of classes to prevent any untoward incident.
“… ang mga local government units na po ang in charge sa pagsususpindi ng klase sa kanilang mga lokalidad kapag walang typhoon signal from PAGASA,” Valte said.
“Kasi dati po ang ginagawa magre-report (ang PAGASA) sa DepEd, kukuha po ang DepEd ng report sa LGU, tapos ibabalik po sa DepEd who will in turn declare the cancellation of classes in certain areas. Ngayon po hindi na po ganoon, ‘yung local government units na po natin (will make the assessment and declaration of the cancellation of classes in their area),” she added.
The following guidelines still apply: When Signal No. 1 is raised by PAGASA, public and private pre-school and kindergarten classes in the affected areas are automatically suspended.
At Signal No. 2 the suspension will also include elementary and secondary classes. When Signal No. 3 is announced, classes in all levels and work in all Department of Education (DepEd) offices are cancelled. Depending on the signal announced between 10 pm and 4:30 am the following day, classes in appropriate levels for the whole day are deemed automatically suspended.
In the absence of typhoon signals from PAGASA, localized suspension of classes in both public and private schools and work in government offices may be implemented by the local chief executive in their capacity as chairpersons of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC).
Also, based on the recent inter-agency Oplan Balik Eskwela Task Force meeting, PAGASA will include in its weather bulletin not only the storm signal but the reminder to suspend classes depending on the storm signal.
The order further stipulated that any decision to suspend classes must come from the local government. A school head may only cancel or suspend classes in cases where urgent action is needed to prevent bodily harm or loss of lives.
Concerned local DepEd and private school officials are directed to coordinate closely with LGUs in times of inclement weather.
Based on the EO, LGU officials are expected to announce cancellation of classes not later than 4:30 am for whole day cancellation and 11:00 am for afternoon class suspension through diverse mass media, particularly radio and television, landline communications and other technologies for communication within the community or locality.