Vice President Leni Robredo stressed the need for the resumption of face-to-face classes in areas where the risk of COVID-19 is low or there is no community transmission.
“We cannot continue under the current situation, two years of no face-to face classes has had very damaging effects on the education of students,” Robredo said in an ambush interview in Murcia, Negros Occidental, on Saturday.
“So the sooner that we can do face-to-face classes, as long as our anxieties over (COVID-19) transmission are addressed, would be the most ideal,” she said.
She said she has been pushing for face-to-face classes since June last year in areas where it is safe to do so.
The schedule for holding face-to-face classes can be tweaked so students don’t have to go five days a week, they can go once or twice a week so classrooms will not be full, she said.
It should also be ensured that teachers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, she said.
Robredo also reiterated that it is better to incentivize people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, rather than make it mandatory.
The vice president was reacting to the report that the Department of Health may have to implement mandatory vaccination to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.
She said it is okay to push for vaccination, in fact the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has been part of the campaign to get as many people vaccinated against COVID-19.
Her office has a Vaccine Express where they volunteer to go to the farthest places to vaccinate people. They have also volunteered to vaccinate Overseas Filipino Workers, she added.
“However, for me it is better to incentivize if there is hesitance. They should be incentivized to get vaccinated rather than punished if they don’t want to be vaccinated”, she said.
She does not believe that it will be effective to punish or fine people.
“We have seen in our programs that when you give incentives, people agree on their own free will and I think, it’s the more effective way,” she said.*