NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Minors will may have one more curfew-free day, making it three days a week for them once Bohol’s PCR lab becomes operational.
Gov. Art Yap announced this last Friday, saying that the youth will just have to wait for the PCR lab that the provincial government is preparing to start operation.
Yap said the containerized PCR lab is expected to arrive this week, then it would be up for commissioning for one week.
As of now, Bohol residents aged below 18 can only break their 24-hour curfew on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Once the PCR lab becomes operation, the minors can have Sundays as additional curfew-free day.
For the children who have to forego school year 2020-2021, Yap is reaching out to potential partners who can help come up with a program for them to be still productive even while out of school.
During the Annual Council meeting of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) on July 10, Yap requested the BSP to design a programs that will put to good use, the spare time of children who might not be able to enroll this school year.
The governor also said he will make the same request to the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP).
This is to make sure that children who might not enroll in the school year 2020-2021 can spend their idle time on activities that will improve their personalities and keep them abreast of the happenings in the community.
Noting the huge disparity between the enrolment turnout in school year 2019-2020 and school year 2020-2021, Yap said this means hundreds of thousands of the youth are going to stay at home.
“What are they going to do at home? Glued on the internet? The internet is a big help, but if it is unsupervised, it is also very dangerous. That’s why I asked the BSP and GSP, and pretty soon I will be approaching the Diocese of Tagbilaran and the Diocese of Talion and ask them to come up with a joint program to add some sports, hiking, and other outdoor activities. There should be supervised programs for the youth,” Yap said.
The record from the Department of Education (DepEd)-Bohol as of July 2 shows that the total enrolment for school year 2020-2021 in public schools only reached 214,590 or short by 70,664 against the enrolment in school year 2019-2020 which reached a total of 285,254.
In private schools, the total enrolment for school year 2020-2021 only reached 16,763 or 23,693 short if the target is last school year’s enrolment of 40,456.
This means a total of 94,357 children are not yet enrolled.