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ESCUDERO TO SCHOOLS: ACCEPT UNVAXXED STUDENTS

Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero warned public schools not to turn away unvaccinated students as the country’s education system prepares for in-person classes.

Escudero, who is seeking a return to the Senate, made the call as the Department of Education (DepEd) launched an early registration for the academic year 2022-2023.

The pre-registration, which began on March 25, will close on April 30.

“There are reports that some schools require students to present proof of vaccination before they can be registered for in-person schooling. This is, in plain terms, illegal. We cannot hinder access to education on any condition because this is a fundamental human right,” he said.

Escudero said the Constitution charges the State with protecting and promoting “the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels,” and mandates the government to take steps to make education accessible to all.

“What the DepEd can strengthen is its education drive on why the youth should be vaccinated and the establishment of safety protocols in schools.”

“Even as we intensify our vaccination drive, in light of the millions of expiring COVID-19 vaccines, we cannot violate people’s rights and make vaccination mandatory. What the DepEd can strengthen is its education drive on why the youth should be vaccinated and the establishment of safety protocols in schools,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) started COVID-19 vaccination among children aged 12 to 17 years old in November 2021, and among kids aged 5 to 11 in February 2022.

There are 12.7 million Filipino youth aged 12 to 17, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“Whether these children are vaccinated or not, they are entitled to enter our public and private schools, no ifs or buts.”

“Whether these children are vaccinated or not, they are entitled to enter our public and private schools, no ifs or buts. Their right to quality education is unconditional and unquestionable, and COVID-19 does not change that,” Escudero said.

Public school enrollment in basic education reached 27,232,095 in 2021, a 3.83% increase from the 2020 enrollment.

This translates to 1,005,073 more students in public schools in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the DepEd.

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