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Erroneous report in Manila hit

Honey Lacuna
Mayor Honey Lacuna talks to seated students belying erroneous reports of armchair shortage in schools, when she made the rounds of schools in Manila, while accompanied by Vice Mayor Yul Servo. Also with them were DCS chief, Supt. Magdalena Lim, (left) chief of staff Joshue Santiago and barangay chairwoman Evelyn de Guzman. (JERRY S. TAN)

MANILA Mayor Honey Lacuna echoed an appeal made by the Division of City Schools (DCS) headed by Supt. Magdalena Lim to members of the media to be fair and responsible in reporting actual events, taking care not to malign the teachers or unnecessarily expose the faces of the students without their parents’ consent.

The appeal came after a news organization posted a video alleging that a teacher made students of the Jose Abad High School sit on the floor for purported lack of enough armchairs to accommodate 43 students.

Lacuna noted with dismay that the video taken and posted contradicted the accompanying report, since there were so many empty armchairs in the background.

The lady mayor said the report was highly unfair for the school authorities and teachers who have painstakingly taken measures to ensure that the return of the students to attend in-person classes will be safe, convenient, smooth and without any hitches.

According to Lacuna, Supt. Lim reported that the said school, through its principal, was called upon to validate such claim and it was verified that the subject teacher shown in the post deliberately re-arranged the chairs to suit a group activity for orientation and psychosocial support tasks.

“It was discovered further that the post on social media was not authorized nor consented. There was no coordination between the school officials and the alleged correspondent. Per school’s security protocol, it did not go through the process of securing a permit or request, statement as to the purpose of the visit and proper consent to take photos of the minor learners. Moreover, the alleged posting of the photo on social media exposing the faces and identity of the minor learners without the consent of their parents or guardians might constitute a breach or violations under data privacy law,” the DCS reported to the mayor.

“Worse, the post is malicious and fabricated purposely to malign the teachers and school officials of Jose Abad Santos High School,” the statement said.

According to the school’s property custodian, the said school has the following: 1,859 armchairs; 1,200 chairs with desk; and 120 laboratory chairs, 3,179 in total. Having 62 instructional classrooms and the number of chairs available, it is appropriate to note that the school has an average of 51 chairs per classroom, which is more than enough to accommodate the learners,” the DCS further stated.

The DCS also said that, “Our teachers and school heads worked tirelessly just to ensure the safe and smooth opening of our classes. We hope that they would be in the same news and spotlight to recognize their efforts and sacrifices for advancing the interest and welfare of our learners and children in the time of COVID-19 global pandemic.”

“Known as a Division with highly-dense population of learners in a limited buildable space, DCS-Manila laid the blueprint on how to ensure adaptive and responsive Oplan Balik Eskwela,” it added.

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