Yesterday, July 27, Quezon City initially decided not suspend classes because of PAGASA's prediction: "only light and moderate rains." The city's vice mayor, Joy Belmonte, took to Facebook to explain the decision, which began with "It is 4 am, and I was up all night..."
Belmonte said there was no storm signal warning, only on-and-off showers, and continuous downpour was not expected. She also wrote that she was confident "in our city's capacity to endure and to withstand the predicted outcome." Parents would have probably just said, "Fine," except Belmonte did not stop there.
While the vice mayor further stressed that the decision was made based on data, she had to add The referring to the other cities that suspended classes.
Then, reflecting on her decision further, she wrote: "There is nothing more difficult to predict than the weather, but one of the most difficult decisions a leader has to make is to predict very early on, whether something so unpredictable as the weather, will have an adverse effect on our children, to the extent that it is worth giving up one day of education for, considering that latest data show that 30% of our school children graduate from elementary without knowing how to read."
Not surprisingly, the parents were up in arms over her whole Facebook statement and let the vice mayor know in the comments section.
First, many pointed out suspension of classes can no longer be based on storm signals especially with the unpredictable weather in the Philippines. A 15-minute steady downpour can easily cause flood now.
If the concern is missing one school day, parents said their kids could always take makeup classes like what has been done in previous years.
Many parents took issue with the vice mayor's comment about testing the city's capacity to endure and to withstand the predicted outcome. They wanted to clarify: surely you don't mean at the cost of our children's safety?
The vice mayor later edited her post to add that "parents must exercise their judgment and prerogative to keep their children home especially those living in more risky areas." At 11 a.m., Quezon City ended up declaring no classes.
As this commenter above suggested, maybe the vice mayor should have kept her post short.
At the end of the day, parents ultimately have the last say if there are no official class suspensions from the LGU or school. We hope both institutions will respect that decision and set up a system in place on what to do when a child's absence is due to weather.
Moms, what is your routine when a downpour begins or rain threatens to floor your area?