The Department of Education (DepEd) MIMAROPA office has issued Regional Memorandum No. 48, instructing Schools Division Offices (SDOs) and school heads in Puerto Princesa and Palawan to take precautionary measures to address the threat of excessive heat during the El Niño phenomenon.

To ensure the welfare, safety, and protection of students, the memorandum highlights the temporary suspension of wearing school and DepEd uniforms for teachers and personnel to avoid the risk of heat stroke. Proper and decent clothing in accordance with Republic Act 6713 for public officials and employees should be worn instead.

The memorandum also emphasizes the need to avoid outdoor activities that may directly expose students to heat, and to implement measures to ensure proper ventilation, sufficient electric fans, industrial fans, and air coolers in classrooms. School heads are directed to inspect classrooms and take steps to mitigate the impact of excessive heat, such as avoiding overcrowding and implementing disaster risk reduction management measures.

Furthermore, the memorandum encourages students to bring face towels for wiping their faces to alleviate heat, and to always stay hydrated by providing them with water. Modular classes may also be implemented if necessary, and school heads are empowered to suspend classes during natural disasters, power outages, or other calamities that may cause excessive heat inside classrooms.

Palawan schools, including the Puerto Princesa City Schools Division, have immediately disseminated the memorandum to comply with the directives. While modular classes have not been implemented yet due to the severity of the heat, the health services department continues to monitor all schools to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and DepEd personnel.

Palawan’s SDO will also conduct an orientation for all school heads before the upcoming Provincial Meet to implement similar prevention measures and protect the athletes and remaining students in every school, as emphasized by the Division Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer, Eugene Dela Torre. (with a report from R. Luzares)