MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the police task force assigned to implement COVID-19 policies and regulations has reminded internet shop owners that minors are still prohibited inside their establishments.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, head of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, issued this reminder Thursday as classes in all public schools are set to start by October 5.
Computer shops were recently allowed to reopen in some areas with low-risk COVID-19 transmissions, and students who have no adequate gadgets for distance-learning are anticipated to seek out these shops so they could attend their online classes. But the police official said minors should not be allowed inside such establishments to avoid the spread of the virus.
Eleazar said units within the Philippine National Police (PNP) will monitor the operation of internet shops to ensure that no minors would sneak into these establishments.
“We understand that a number of elementary and high school students in the public schools do not have computers, laptops and other gadgets for the opening of classes so… maybe some of them… would go to the internet shops for their online classes for the use of computers and to avail internet connections,” Eleazar said in a statement.
“Our commanders on the ground should take the lead not only in reminding the internet shop owners that minors should not be allowed to enter in accordance of the guidelines set forth by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases) but also in making sure that this and other rules are strictly and properly observed,” he added.
Previously, computer or internet shops were not allowed to operate as it may serve as an avenue for coronavirus transmissions because cubicles in some shops have little space to observe physical distancing.
However, the government decided to allow such stores to open — as long as they observe minimum health protocols — to revive the economy which has taken a beating due to the lockdowns.
Despite calls from various student organizations to defer School Year 2020 to 2021 to allow students and families to focus on economic recovery, classes will open starting Monday next week.
READ: DepEd moves opening of classes to October 5
READ: DepEd, CHED asked to ‘initiate academic freeze’ until virus mass testing is conducted
Eleazar said that PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan also urged police commanders to identify and monitor all computer shops within their respective jurisdictions to ensure order.
“We are all in this together. We should help each other out first by ensuring the protection of students and parents who would possibly go to the computer shops for online classes and second, to help out students if there are opportunities to help them cope with the new normal in the conduct of classes,” Eleazar added.
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