Following the bus accident which caused the death of at least 15 people, including students, a teacher, and a bus driver, as well as several other injuries, in Tanay, Rizal, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) imposed a moratorium on field trips and educational tours in higher education institutions (HEI) last February 21. According to CHED, this was to “give way to an investigation on the bus crash.”
Authorities, however, have yet to release an official tally on the number of casualties. The Tanay Public Information Office estimates that there were around 58 passengers on board the bus.
On the moratorium
CHED arrived at the decision following the proposal of Commissioner Prospero De Vera III, who cited that the field trips and educational tours in public and private colleges will be disallowed until investigations on the tragedy are completed.
De Vera also noted the need for HEIs to rethink and reevaluate their guidelines to ensure the students’ protection during field trips and educational tours.
Under CHED Memorandum No. 17, s. 2012, HEIs are required to report to their respective CHED regional offices on the nature, purpose, schedule, destination, and cost of their field trips or educational tours at least a month before the opening of classes for every academic year.
The memorandum also states that trips should be near the HEI to minimize cost, have proper coordination with a local government unit, and secure the necessary clearances. HEIs who fail to comply will be sanctioned depending on the degree of their violations.
On a DLSU Help Desk Announcement last February 23, Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda stated that all faculty members are called upon to comply with the moratorium issued by CHED on “field trips and educational tours” until the moratorium is lifted at a later date.
Meanwhile, according to another moratorium released on the same day by the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, Formation, and Empowerment (SLIFE) Director Nelca Balisado-Villarin and Dean of Student Affairs Amelia Galang, “the approval of all off-campus activities regardless of its nature is hereby revoked.” As advised by the University Legal Counsel, no off-campus activities will be allowed starting February 21.
The moratorium was addressed to all government units, commissions, and groups under the University Student Government, all recognized student organizations and units under the Council of Student Organizations, and all special groups and graduate student groups, organizations, and governments under the Office of SLIFE.
“Kindly advise all external partners, project heads, and all concerned parties, the cancellation of reservation, payment, or activities. For inquiry or consultation, you may contact Mr. Patrick Lo, Coordinator for Operations through email at firstname.lastname@example.org [for undergraduate concerns] and Ms. Izel Guatno, Coordinator for Graduate Student Programs and Services through email at email@example.com [for graduate concerns],” the statement concludes.