VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Viral FB post NOT TRUE; classes set to resume on August 24

In a July 27 Facebook (FB) post, a netizen falsely claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law moving the opening of classes to end-August.

“Republic Act 11480 State that Start of School must be Move (sic) up to end of August. Already Sign (sic) by President Duterte…” it said, referring to the law signed by the chief executive two weeks ago.

The claim is false. School year 2020-2021 will open on Aug. 24, as announced by Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones on May 5, and which she reiterated just last July 21.

Also, Republic Act No. 11480, signed into law on July 17, does not change the opening date of classes for basic education. Instead, it authorizes the President, upon the advice of the Education Secretary, to set a different date for the first day of classes in any part of the country “in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity.”

It amends a section of R.A. 7797, or the law lengthening the school calendar. DepEd has yet to issue the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the new law.

The netizen’s post came seven days after President Duterte agreed with Briones’ proposal to allow “limited face-to-face learning” in “low-risk” areas after prohibiting physical classes until a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease becomes available.

However, the President clarified this pronouncement during his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday. He explained that he agreed to the resumption of face-to-face classes in January 2021 on the assumption that a vaccine will be available by September.

The false FB post has received 15,000 reactions and 40,000 shares from netizens, most of them asking if the post’s claim is true.

The post’s lone traffic generator is public FB group WANTED: RS, WANTED: OL POWER SPARKLE UHUM UHUM, created in March 2018.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)