In Borongan City
TACLOBAN CITY-A private college school based on Borongan City, Eastern Samar was ordered to stop its operation effective Tuesday (August 4) for its failure to follow health protocols on COVID-19.
The suspension of the Our Lady of Mercy College (OLMC) of its operation was ordered by the city government’s licensing and legal offices and approved by Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda.
The said school, which opened its classes last July 20, was said to have conducted face-to-face classes, non-wearing of face masks of both students and teachers while inside the campus; not practicing social distancing and allowing students to attend classes even without health certificates, among other alleged violations of the school.
All these were in clear violations on health protocol being enforced against coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19), the city government said on its order suspending the business license of OLMC.
Based on the notice of suspension order of the city government, it said that OLMC did not deny its alleged violations but merely declared that they have ‘already’ followed the protocols.
“It appears, therefore, that your compliance of the health protocols was already after the fact of your violations thereof,” the order said, adding that it did not coordinate both the Commission on Higher Education and the city government before it started its face-to-face classes.
“Therefore, in view of your violations, your business permit is hereby suspended until August 31,2020 and you are hereby directed to stop operations in view of the said suspension,” it added.
Failure of the school management not to heed the order would force the city government to take legal and administrative actions against them and the revocation of its business permit, the city officials warned.
School president Diosdado Obligar, however, maintained that they are compliant of all the health protocols being implemented by the government on COVID-19.
For one, the wearing of face masks among students is strictly observed inside the campus.
“But when the city personnel inspected our school last Monday, they saw two students at our school stage who were not wearing their face masks properly. They pulled down their face masks. But we are really very strict on this. We have signages inside our campus reminding our students to strictly wear face masks and observe social distancing and other health protocols,”Obligar said through a mobile phone interview.
But he admitted that they did conducted face-to-face classes but stressed that they were observing social distancing with the students sitting two-meters apart.
Still, he chose not to contest the decision of the city government saying they were only doing their duties.
“I chose not to argue with them. I just followed. Anyway, they were only after the safety of the public,” Obligar, who is under quarantine as he just arrived from Manila this week, said.
He added that with this move of the city government, they would further intensify on the implementation of all health protocols.
Obligar also said that the almost one month loss of classes at OLMC due to the closure order would be recovered by extending their classes until December of this year.
The school, at present, has more than 350 enrolled students and set to celebrate its 25th founding anniversary on September 21 this year.
Based on its website, the OLMC offers several four-year courses like criminology, nursing, education and short courses like caregiver.
(JOEY A. GABIETA)