THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 will conduct its own investigation on the Nov. 27, 2020 tourism activity in Madridejos town, Bantayan Island after it learned that there were students who witnessed the activity.
Salustiano Jimenez, director of the DepEd 7, told reporters on Monday, Nov. 30, that the pictures of the activity capture some children wearing their uniforms during the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo SMB (Santa Fe, Madridejos and Bantayan).
He said the Cebu Province division of the DepEd 7 will lead the fact-finding inquiry.
“We will check because it was clear they went there. We want to know the reason,” Jimenez said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The Education Department has not been conducting in-person classes and extra-curricular activities to protect students and teachers from the risk of Covid-19.
Madridejos Mayor Salvador dela Fuente said he will face the DepEd 7 investigation.
Dela Fuente, in a Superbalita Cebu interview, said it has been a habit of students to wear uniforms when there are visitors, including the governor, during big town events like the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo.
He did not say he directed the local teachers to participate in the event, adding he had no knowledge about the advisory given to the students.
“Kana sila mga estudyante once nga naay Suroy-Suroy mo-welcome gyud na sila (The students will welcome the visitors if there is Suroy-Suroy),” dela Fuente said.
Jimenez said the investigators will determine who instructed the students to join in the activity.
The education official reminded school officials to seek permission from the higher-ups if they plan to hold activities involving students and teachers.
Waiting for reply
As to the DepEd 7 plan on allowing in-person classes, Jimenez said his office has yet to receive an answer from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The activity, Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, was led by the Cebu Provincial Government as part of its efforts in reviving the tourism industry crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was attended by several government officials including Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said on Sunday, Nov. 29, a fact-finding investigation will be conducted.
Photos of the Bantayan Island Airport opening and the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo SMB welcome ceremony at Madridejos Kota Park that circulated online show the crowd not observing social distancing and some members of the crowd not wearing masks.
Roque, who spoke to the large crowd last Nov. 27, said he will cooperate in the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s inquiry.
During the Friday event, Roque said he reminded the participants not to remove their masks.
The entire mainland of Cebu and its islands are under modified general community quarantine, which allows more movement and reopening of several businesses while mandating the public to observe social distancing and wearing of masks. (ANV)