MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Education (DepEd) is postponing the June 5 opening of classes in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur due to the ongoing clashes between the military and local terrorists.
Education Assistant Secretary GH Ambat confirmed this to Rappler on Wednesday, May 31, saying they are postponing classes for "at the most two weeks."
Undersecretary Alain Pascua said the DepEd decided to postpone due to "security issues."
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also announced the postponement during Wednesday’s Mindanao Hour at Malacañang.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones clarified that the delay in the class opening is to ensure the students’ safety, and not because schools will be used as evacuation centers.
The DepEd will also postpone classes in schools nearest to the armed conflict but outside Marawi City, although the department did not name the areas where they are located.
A week ago, the education department announced that classes in Marawi City’s public elementary and high schools would begin as planned on June 5.
It was also announced that DepEd schools will not be used as evacuation centers for residents affected by the unrest.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23, following clashes between the military and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
The 1987 Constitution states that martial law should not exceed 60 days. Any extension has to be approved by Congress. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)
Mapping of learners
Student mapping already began in Marawi City’s neighboring cities.
"Our regional directors already have their inventory of additional learners evacuated to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro because they know, come June 5, there will be more learners under their jurisdiction than the originally projected," Briones explained.
She said these displaced learners may enroll in another school even with just their Learner Reference Number.
The DepEd is also coordinating with DepEd-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in mobilizing teachers familiar with the language or dialect in Marawi City.
These teachers will be deployed to teach in areas with student transferees from Marawi City.
Briones said the DepEd-ARMM will provide the teachers, while the DepEd Central Office will provide the funding for the teachers. – Rappler.com