Spark plans legal action vs CHED chief
ACTIVIST organization Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) recently revealed its plan to file cases against Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera for allegedly abandoning the agency’s mandate on multiple occasions.
The group emphasized de Vera should have issued a number of memoranda guaranteeing the accessibility of education to the marginalized sector.
According to Spark, the department failed to release guidelines on the conduct of online classes in light of the adverse effects wrought by the past five typhoons that slammed the country.
In a previous news article, the CHED chairman said suspension of classes and postponement of deadlines depend on the mandate of individual school administrations, and that classes cannot be canceled for the entire country “if the effects are only in some parts...”
“What CHED officials must realize is that distance learning can no longer be covered by their present guidelines, which are already outdated,” Spark’s spokesman John Lazaro countered. “With online classes, suspension of university operations can no longer be territorial in scope. One may be enrolled at a school in Metro Manila, but also residing in, [say, Legazpi City,] which lies in the traditional route of typhoons.”
Several student councils and campus organizations have been calling for academic breaks to class suspensions and postponements of academic deadlines for the last two weeks after Typhoon Quinta battered the Bicol region, making distance learning difficult due to unstable online connections.
Spark, for instance, appealed for a weeklong nationwide cancellation of classes in all levels until November 19 due to the continuing onslaught of powerful typhoons. The group insisted the present setup that authorizes heads of local government units or school administrators to declare class suspensions based on the forecasts of the weather bureau is only applicable for face- to- face classes.
“First came... Quinta which wrecked Bicol,” Lazaro said. “Then... Rolly, Siony, Tonyo and Ulysses, which further set back recovery efforts in already battered regions. Significantly, 11 of the country’s 17 regions have been affected with floods, power outages, and intermittent to no Internet connection.”
He added the sheer scope of the storms and the number of families affected in 11 regions of the country are valid enough to consider that classes across all levels nationwide must be canceled immediately, so that families have time to recover, and infrastructure damages be repaired.
Apart from the lack of guidelines on class suspensions, the youth group pointed out CHED’S gross negligence for consistently missing out on its thrust since the start of the pandemic.
“De Vera has left us no choice but to finally take legal action in order to attain justice for the millions he has consistently abandoned. Stonewalling our legitimate pleas is not public service; we deserve more. See you in court, Mr. De Vera,” Lazaro declared.