#WalangPasok: House Bill Aims to Streamline Suspension of Classes and Work

Besides storm signals, maybe we should include intense flooding, earthquakes, fires, and chemical spills.
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When it comes to the rainy season, frequent suspension of classes is par for the course. However, office workers often find themselves braving traffic, heavy rain, and floods, only to get stranded at the office when the government finally sees fit to cancel work. Parents also wind up scrambling to pick up their kids in the middle of the day, when officials could have suspended classes first thing in the morning.

The Rationalized Cancellation and Suspension of Work and School Classes Act of 2017 or House Bill 6072 aims to streamline the decision-making process by extending the criteria for automatically suspending classes and work.

“Storm warnings have proven to be inadequate and insufficient indicators or bases for suspension of classes and work,” says Rep. Salvador Belaro, Jr., who introduced the bill. “Storms these days are more powerful and destructive. Even Signal No. 2 storms cause heavy rain and killer floods. We have more extreme weather events now than ever before because of global warming and climate change. Monsoon rains do not have storm warning signals.”

He recommends that Malacañang use HB6702 as a template for a new executive order that would use reports from “rainfall predictive models and remote river monitoring devices” as bases for declaring suspensions.

It’s interesting to note that the wording of the bill doesn’t make any distinction between government workers and private sector employees. Section C declares that classes at all levels and “operations of offices and other workplaces” will be automatically suspended once the government declares any of the following circumstances:

  • Public Storm Signal Warning No. 3
  • Widespread flooding or landslides that render roads impassable
  • Intense rainfall or thunderstorm advisory
  • When river water levels reach Second Alarm or Prepare to Evacuate
  • Toxic chemical spills in or around the office or school
  • Intensity 6 earthquakes
  • Task Force Alpha fires within a 100-meter radius from a school or office

Meanwhile, preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school classes will be cancelled upon declaration of Storm Signal Warning No. 1, widespread flooding at gutter level, Intensity 4 earthquakes, toxic chemical spills near the school, or a fourth alarm fire within a 100-meter radius from the school.

If passed into law, this would certainly facilitate a more efficient and timely process of suspending classes and work, and make our lives a whole lot easier.

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Angelica Gutierrez
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