Photo courtesy of Peter "Jimbo" Maristela

City councilor Peter “Jimbo” Maristela on Monday urged the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to allow in-person graduation ceremonies in Puerto Princesa City, citing the city’s low alert level classification.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, face-to-face classes and graduation ceremonies have been prohibited. However, now that there are only 59 active COVID-19 cases in Puerto Princesa City as of Monday (March 7), the national government placed the city under Alert Level 1 from March 1 to 15.

Maristela added that students and parents have also been requesting that graduation ceremonies should be allowed to be held, since these are important milestones that need to be celebrated in person.

“Sa akin lang, kasi, marami naman talaga ang gusto na magkaroon ng in-person graduation. Kaya nag-recommend ako kahapon na magpasa ng resolution requesting ‘yond DepEd, kasi sila ang sa elementary at high school na payagan ang in-person graduation dito sa Puerto Princesa, at ganoon din kay Director [Joselito] Alisuag, regional director ng MIMAROPA, na payagan ang mga nasa kolehiyo,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

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He added that on social media, some have been pointing out that political figures are allowed to hold mass gatherings, but students and parents are still unable to celebrate their graduations.

“Kung iyong mapapansin, ang sabi sa mga nagco-comment sa social media, ‘yong mga pagtitipon nga ng mga pulitiko napapayagan, [bakit hindi] ang graduation na napakahalaga para sa mga estudyante at magulang. At tsaka, Alert Level 1 na rin tayo,” Maristela added.

Maristela’s two resolutions were approved by the city council on Monday with no objections, after a brief discussion with officials of the city DepEd. The City Council, on the same day, also expressed its support to the city DepEd through an approved resolution to hold limited face-to-face classes to selected schools. Meanwhile, the regional DepEd will be holding assessment and validations on the schools to determine if they are prepared to resume face-to-face learning.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.