By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Blog Spot

President Rodrigo Duterte opposed anew the recommendation by the Department of Education to conduct limited face-to-face classes, adding the country should prioritize reaching the target number of vaccinations amid detection of new and more transmissible COVID-19 variants.

"Dito sa face-to-face [classes], I think I am not inclined to agree with you. I'm sorry but mahirap...I cannot gamble on the health of the children," Duterte told DepEd Chief Leonor Briones during his weekly Talk to the People program

"[W]e might differ in our opinions about the matter but for as long as there is really no vaccination [for] all," Duterte added.

Following Duterte’s opposition, Briones withdrew the proposal by saying that she fully accepted the latter’s decision.

December last year, the President also disapproved the agency’s proposal for limited face-to-face classes due to the presence of the Alpha variant — which was first detected in the United Kingdom — in the country.

The Philippines’ vaccination program started last March 1 following the arrival of 600,000 donated vaccine doses developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech.

To date, the country has received 14,205,870 doses. By the numbers, 9,000,000 doses from Sinovac Biotech, 2,556,000 doses from British firm AstraZeneca, 2,469,870 doses from Pfizer, and 180,000 doses from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

As of Tuesday, June 21, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,364,239 total COVID-19 cases, 1,284,643 recoveries, and 23,749 deaths.

Meanwhile, 8,222,759 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country of which 6,102,625 individuals have received the first dose while 2,120,134 individuals have completed two doses.