PNA file photo

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday announced the shifting to blended learning of schools in Masbate province as it condemned the terrorist attacks of communist rebels.
In an interview, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said the department will ensure sustained learning deliveries despite these attacks. 
Grabe yung learning disruptions dahil nga sa mga ganitong terrorist encounters. So we want to ensure that there is learning continuity (The learning disruptions are undeniable due to these terrorist encounters. So we want to make use there is a learning continuity),” he said. 
In an earlier statement, the DepEd said it will shift to an alternative delivery mode instead of massive class suspensions. 
“There will be no blanket suspension of classes. The suspension of in-person classes and immediate shift to blended learning shall be left to the discretion of the school heads/principals, upon due assessment and proper coordination with the concerned LGU (local government unit) — keeping in mind the peace and order situation, as well as the mental health of learners and school personnel,” it said. 
The DepEd also condemned the rebels’ move that affects learning recovery efforts for children. 
“The Department of Education (DepEd) vehemently condemns the alarming rate of communist rebel activities in Masbate, causing undue learning disruption in the province. These acts of terrorism perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) have caused trauma to learners and school personnel who witnessed the senseless violence,” it said. 
Moreover, Poa said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte has already tapped authorities to ensure the safety of learners and education personnel. 
Ang Vice President, Secretary of Education, mula pa sa unang engkwentro ay nagkaroon na ng open line communication doon sa army division commander doon sa Masbate at nag-commit naman po ang ating (The Vice President, also the Secretary of Education, since the first encounter, has already had an open line of communication to the army division commander in Masbate. And the) Philippine Army committed that they will protect our learners, also our school personnel in the area,” he said. 
Poa said Duterte has expressed her desire to assess the situation of affected schools in Masbate. 
“As soon as we have clearance with authorities, the VP wants to visit the areas affected by the terrorist encounters,” he said in mixed English and Filipino. 
To date, Poa said reports show that six municipalities have been affected by the armed conflict. 
The DepEd urged the public to exercise vigilance against all forms of violence and terrorism. (PNA)