‘Sana agahan’: Residents criticize late class suspension announcements amid heavy rains

September 4, 2023 - 2:06 PM
People brave through the floods in Ermita, Manila amid the onslaught of the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Hanna on Sunday, September 3, 2023. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

Several Filipinos decried the late suspension of classes amid the rainy weather on Monday, September 4.

They took to social media to point out that students were well on their way to their classes when some local government officials issued these declarations in line with the state weather bureau’s rainfall advisory.

The City of Manila was one of the Local Government Units (LGUs) that earned criticism from its residents. It posted its “walang pasok” advisory on Facebook at 8:50 a.m.

“In line with the Yellow Rainfall Advisory by PAGASA, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan suspends classes in ALL LEVELS of private and public schools in the City of Manila,” the post reads.

Several residents expressed their frustrations that their children had already gone to school at that time.

“Kung kelan nakapasok na mga bata! Sana kagabi palang nag-announce na kung may pasok or wala,” a Facebook user said.

“Sana agahan mayora…kawawa mga mag aaral susugod sa ulan para makapasok then in the end uuwi. Pumasok basa, natuyo na sa school, uuwi basa uli,” another Facebook user said in a comment addressed to Manila City Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan. 

Valenzuela City also declared suspension of classes on Monday due to the gloomy weather.

The advisory was posted at 6:55 a.m.

Residents here also complained that students of morning classes might have already been drenched during their commute to school.

“Mayor please be considerate. Ang pasok po ng mga Bata is 6 a.m. po. Yung announcement niyo is maaga para sa mga panghapon,” a Facebook user said.

The city chief executive of Valenzuela City is Wes Gatchalian. 

The state weather bureau, meanwhile, said Typhoon Hanna is set to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) today.

READ: Typhoon Hanna exits PAR; enhanced ‘habagat’ brings rain 

Hanna, however, enhanced the southwest monsoon that will bring rains and thunderstorms to most parts of the country, including in Metro Manila.

“At 3 a.m., the center of the eye of Typhoon ‘HANNA’ was estimated based on all available data at 265 km Northwest of Itbayat, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 150 km/h. It is moving South Southwestward slowly. Southwest Monsoon affecting the country,” the latest weather bulletin reads.

Policies on weather-related cancelations

Local Government Units (LGU) are allowed to issue localized cancelations or suspensions of classes and government work in the absence of typhoon warning signals from PAGASA, according to section 2 of Executive Order No. 66, series of 2012.

These announcements, however, should be issued as early as 4:30 a.m. of the intended day to implement the cancelation.

“Announcements will be made not later than 4:30 AM of the day of the intended cancellation of classes and work, or not later than 11:00 AM for suspension of work and classes in the afternoon session, through diverse mass media, particularly radio and television, landline communications and other technologies for communication within the community or locality,” the provision reads.

These decisions should also be “in coordination with PAGASA and the NDRRMC, specifically in flood-prone or high-risk areas.”

Local officials who suspend classes at a later time can be charged with “gross neglect of duty,” according to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Former Interior Secretary Eduardo Año made this statement after DILG field offices received numerous complaints from residents during the onslaught of Tropical Depression “Henry.”

“Erring officials who are too lazy to wake up to suspend classes even though PAGASA has declared its warning signals may be charged with gross neglect of duty,” he said.