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Gatchalian bats for in-person graduation ceremonies

If political rallies are allowed, it’s time we also allow in-person graduation ceremonies. Senator Win Gatchalian made this call as the National Capital Region and 38 other areas shifted to Alert Level 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – The University of Rizal System (URS) holds its 23rd commencement exercises at the Ynares Center in Rizal Capitol complex with Senator Win Gatchalian as commencement speaker for the institution’s graduation candidates from its Angono, Antipolo, Cainta and Cardona campuses, 30 April 2018. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Gatchalian emphasized that for both parents and students, graduation ceremonies are once in a lifetime moments. Considering the eased restrictions and the country’s improving situation, Gatchalian says parents and students should be able to fully relish their moments of pride. The lawmaker took note, however, that public health protocols should still be observed to avoid turning these ceremonies into superspreader events.

Under Alert Level 1 which is the lowest level of health restrictions, workplaces, establishments, and government offices may operate at 100% capacity. Public transportation is also allowed to operate at full capacity. Individuals 18 years old and above, however, will be required to present proof of full vaccination before participating in mass gatherings such as meetings, conferences, and exhibition events.

“Kung nakakapagsagawa na tayo ng mga aktibidad na dinudumog ng maraming tao tulad ng election campaigns, dapat bigyan din natin ng pagkakataon ang mga magulang at mga mag-aaral na magkaroon na ng face-to-face graduation,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

“Ang kasiyahang dulot ng pagtatapos ng mga mag-aaral ay nag-uudyok pa sa maraming mga magulang na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa na umuwi ng Pilipinas para lamang makadalo sa graduation ng kanilang mga anak. Sa gitna ng patuloy na pagbaba ng mga kaso ng COVID-19, napapanahong ibigay din natin ang pagkakataong ito sa mga magulang at kanilang mga anak,” he added.

In April 2020, amid the prolonged imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and other parts of the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) indefinitely postponed graduation and moving up ceremonies. For School Year 2020-2021, the DepEd did not allow face-to-face graduation and moving up rites to protect the health of learners, teachers, personnel, and parents.