Manila, Philippines – THE current system on class suspension when there is inclement weather makes a lot of sense. The class suspension is now a decision of local government unit heads, specifically the mayors.
Classes are suspended specifically when there is typhoon to ensure the safety of students. In deciding to suspend classes or not, decision makers also consider the effect of class suspension on the academic calendar.
From what we have seen and experienced in the recent past, suspension of classes can no longer be solely made on the basis of general rules as such suspension of grade school classes when typhoon signal one is up, suspension of high school classes when typhoon signal two is declared, and so on.
The impact of inclement weather on the safety of students can no longer be gauged based on storm signals. We have seen and experienced that even if there were no storm warnings, continuous heavy rains caused flooding in many areas and such floods posed danger particularly to students.
The current system of having local government executives decide on class suspension makes sense because the effects of inclement weather on different municipalities and cities within the same province or region vary.
Since local government executives are in a better position to know such effects of inclement weather, they are also in the best position to balance the needs to ensure the safety of students and avoid disruptions in the academic calendar.
The confusion that happened in some areas, particularly in Metro Manila, when classes in some areas were suspended due to rains from typhoon Buchoy was expected considering the change in the system of suspending classes. It also highlights the need for local government units to device information dissemination systems that work best for their respective territories.
Given the modern information and communications technologies that are currently available, there should be no reason for difﬁculties or problems in informing the public about class suspensions. In addition to the traditional “hotlines,” local government units can also utilize the Internet and texting as means to disseminate information. LGUs can still make use of other communication media such as radio and television.
Having local government units decide on and responsible for class suspension is a very clear illustration of the need to further strengthen their autonomy as they are in better position of responding well to the needs of the people.