VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte seesaws on holding face-to-face classes

During his fifth State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte changed his position again on opening in-person classes amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his July 31 public address, the president changed his estimation for the availability of a vaccine from September to “within the months of October, November, December.”

Duterte signed on July 17 Republic Act (RA) 11480, amending RA 7797, which provides for the start of the academic year on the “first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.”

RA 11480 allows the president, upon recommendation of the education secretary, to set a different date for the opening of classes “in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity.”

DepEd has set the opening of classes for basic education for school year 2020-2021 on Aug. 24. It is set to end on April 30, 2021.

The agency said it will implement its “decades-old” blended learning program, which combines the use of radio, television, and the internet as media of instruction.



RTVMalacanang, Meeting with the IATF-EID and Talk to the People on COVID-19 5/25/2020, May 25, 2020

RTVMalacanang, Meeting on COVID-19 Concerns and Talk to the People on COVID-19 6/4/2020, June 4, 2020

RTVMalacanang, Meeting on COVID-19 Concerns and Talk to the People on COVID-19 7/20/2020, July 21, 2020

RTVMalacanang, President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) 7/27/2020, July 27, 2020

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Talk to the People of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), July 31, 2020

Official Gazette, Republic Act 11480

Official Gazette, Republic Act 7797

Department of Education, IATF Approves the BE-LCP, School Opening on August 24, 2020, May 11, 2020

Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque with Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Department of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, June 8, 2020

Department of Education, Official Statement, June 8, 2020


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)