Nationwide round-up

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Over 300,000 private school students move to public system

MORE THAN 300,000 private school students are moving to the public education system when the new academic year starts in August, the Department of Education reported on Thursday. Education Undersecretary Jesus Lorenzo R. Mateo said 305,000 primary and secondary students who were previously enrolled in private institutions have registered in public schools due mainly to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. “That’s true…there are 305,000 students from private schools who moved to public schools…the usual reason was because of the effect of the pandemic,” he said in a briefing. Over 20 million students from kindergarten to senior high school levels enrolled for the school year 2020-2021, with over 19 million in public schools. Classes begin on Aug. 24. For colleges and universities, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero E. De Vera said several private institutions are closing due to the low number of enrollees for this school year. He said aside from financial constraints, parents fear the possibility of their children contracting the virus if they go back to school. Mr. De Vera said they are not crafting guidelines for school closures. — Gillian M. Cortez

66 more OFW remains to be brought home Sunday

THE REMAINS of 66 more overseas Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia will be brought home Sunday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said. In a briefing on Thursday, Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay said there is a special flight scheduled to arrive on July 19 carrying the deceased Filipinos. Last July 10, an initial batch of 49 remains from Saudi Arabia arrived, including 19 who died from the coronavirus. There were over 200 bodies of overseas workers that needed to be transported from the Middle Eastern country, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, but some have already been arranged by their respective families. — Gillian M. Cortez

COVID-19 positive police personnel now almost 1,300

THE PHILIPPINE National Police has recorded another surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections among its personnel with 59 new cases as of Wednesday evening. This brings the total to 1,298, with 529 recoveries and nine deaths. Police chief Gen. Archie F. Gamboa on Thursday said they are preparing to build more quarantine and testing facilities. “PNP is now preparing to establish more quarantine centers and testing hubs as we improve our healthcare support mechanism for our police frontliners and personnel who are exposed to the risk of contamination while fulfilling their duties,” he said in a statement. Of the new cases, 44 are assigned in Metro Manila, six from Central Visayas, three each from the CALABARZON police and Highway Patrol Group, two from the Davao police, and one from the Communication and Electronics Service. At least 2,027 others are under monitoring after showing symptoms or interacted with COVID-19 patients. Aside from manning checkpoints, the PNP is managing seven government quarantine and testing facilities, including the isolation center at SM Mall of Asia Arena, PhilSports Arena, and the Philippine International Convention Center. — Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR

Palace says nothing new in VP’s COVID-19 response recommendations

THE PRESIDENTIAL Palace on Thursday said recommendations submitted by Vice-President Leonor G. Robredo on response measures for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis are already being done by the national government. Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said in a briefing the vice-president submitted a letter earlier this week on how the government can improve efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. “Ang mga rekomendasyon po niya ay may kinalaman sa (Her recommendations relate to) reporting and keeping the public informed, sa budget utilization, sa transportation concerns, sa restarting the economy, edukasyon at sa (and the) composition ng IATF (inter-agency task force),” he said. Ms. Robredo, who belongs to the opposition party, said the administration seems to lack urgency in dealing with the crisis as COVID-19 cases continue to increase. She added that the government was “complacent” from the start. — Gillian M. Cortez