Davao City junks pleas to hold face-to-face graduation rites

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 April) – The local government of Davao has turned down the requests of schools to hold face-to-face graduation ceremonies as the city continues to regulate mass gatherings to stem the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said Monday.

During her interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte said the local government disapproved the pleas of schools to conduct graduation rites to contain the spread of COVID-19.

She noted that graduation ceremonies are traditionally a crowd drawer.

“We did not approve all the requests for face-to-face graduation because one of the pillars in the prevention of COVID-19 is to prevent mass gathering, and graduations will really put so many people together in one place,” she said.

Last year, the city government also banned face-to-face graduation ceremonies.

A vendor displays assorted garlands at the high school graduation ceremony in Barangay Dagumbaan, Maramag, Bukidnon on Thursday, March 29,2012. MindaNews file photo

Duterte said the local government has not changed the implementation of COVID-19 guidelines such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask and handwashing to control the spread of the virus.

Under Section 19 of Executive Order 13 released on March 16, limited face-to-face or in-person attendance for Higher Educational Institutions and Post-Graduate courses is allowed for the “purposes of examinations and laboratory learning provided that the distancing of not less than one meter between individuals is strictly observed.”

But face-to-face or in-person classes are prohibited.

It added that a gathering of more than 25 individuals for a single event or activity in all public places remains prohibited, except for “essential meetings and social events” permitted under the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-001 of the departments  of Tourism, and Trade and Industry.

Permitted essential meetings include workshops, trainings, seminars, congresses, conferences, conventions, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia, company/government recognitions and press conferences while permitted social events are debut and birthday parties, weddings ceremonies and receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, family reunions and bridal or baby showers.

Under the JMC, essential meetings are allowed at 50% of the maximum venue capacity for up to eight hours while social gatherings at 30% for up to three hours.

As of April 18, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 63 new cases, bringing the total to 22,755, with 1,021 active, 20,767 recoveries and 967 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 14,253 cases, with 438 active, 13,132 recoveries and 683 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,467 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,881, Davao del Sur with 1,529, Davao Occidental with 224 and Davao Oriental with 1,401.

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