Baliwag, Bulacan – It was Sunday and news of a super typhoon headed north of Basco, Batanes dominated newsfeeds. Rain was enhanced by the monsoon. At 5pm, students began to contact Mayor Ferdie’s fanpage to inquire if there will be classes the next day, a Monday. Mayor’s page responded, “May pasok sa lahat ng antas…” Not losing hope, students continued to inquire as if pressuring the LGU to declare until 4am, the self-imposed schedule that the Office of the Mayor set to announce any class suspension.
Hopes dwindled and any chancs left narrowed to zero.
The pressure remained high.
Still, the Office of the Mayor continued to be firm despite uncessant pleas, (witty) banters and varying degree of opinions from students and parents alike.
That scenario will last five more days. In between Sunday and Thursday, there were two incidents that broke the camels back, one came from a grade 11 student who directly messaged the Mayor’s facebook with a foul language. The boy was asked to report to the mayor’s office. He was endorsed to a social worker. He will be visiting the social worker every week.
The Office of the Mayor maintained that it will not be liberal in suspending classes this school year especially when there is no storm warning signal raised. In the Department of Education, TESDA and Commission on Higher Education Joint Memorandum Circular, automatic suspension of classes is in order for elementary students when a storm signal no. 1 is raised; signal no. 2 for highschool and signal no. 3 for students in the tertiary level.
The Office of the Mayor following a recommendation from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council could initiate a localized suspension based on the recommendation of the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. This is to make sure only classes in the affected areas will be suspended.
As of Thursday, July 12, 2018, only the BDRRMC of Brgy. Virgen delas Flores recommended to suspend classes in their area. The recommendation was received by the MDRRMC at 10:54am but later on denied since, most students were already inside the school premises. The Office of the Mayor stressed that, no suspension of classes will be done at the middle of the day or when most students are already inside the school to cause further inconvenience to parents and guardians who may need to skip work to fetch the students.
Netizens and Netiquette
In one day, the Public Assistance and Complaint Center recorded thousands of inquiries concerning class suspension. The office reminded everyone especially students to be courteous all the time and avoid giving comments using foul language. Municipal Administrator Enrique Tagle said: “Certainly, responses that are contrary to our shared values, unnecessary and cheap will not be tolerated. They must show respect to the Mayor or any of his authorized staff who are painstakingly, responding to all of their inquiries 24/7. If they cannot show respect to the highest elected official, who else will they respect? We will deal with them accordingly. They must remember that decisions regarding class suspensions are made based on available data provided by different agencies and unit and not by whims. The government’s concerns do not end with class suspensions.”
Read Mayor Ferdie’s related post here Mayor Ferdie Ranted on Facebook, Recommended to Schools to Check Students
Class Suspension Today
The Office of the Mayor announced the suspension of classes today, July 18 at around 10pm last night.
The Mayor also explained that cancellation of classes at 11:20 in the morning was not his decision but of Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Bulacan’s OIC Governor. Mayor Ferdie reacted that had it his way, students will continue to have classes because unlike, Malolos and other coastal towns, Baliwag is relatively higher in topography. “While some schools experienced flooding, many schools are relatively normal and safe to have classes. We understand that our schools cater to residents from nearby towns, if they feel they are not safe to go to school, they can miss the class. Safety and convenience must be a personal judgement. I am sure teachers will be liberal in excusing students. School Officials must be liberal in excusing teachers and personnel who cannot come to work.
Read Mayor Ferdie Estrella’s Statement Regarding the Cancellation of Classes Yesterday Mayor Ferdie, Nagpaliwanag hinggil sa Suspensiyon ng Klase Kahapon