By Jordan G. Habbiling
THE city council has moved to temporarily suspend certain provisions of Ordinance 55-2020 in order to allow students in the city to use computer shops for their online classes and for the accomplishment of their online requirements.
Ordinance 55-2020 sets forth regulations on the operation of computer shops, internet shops, and internet cafés in the city. The ordinance was approved on third and final reading by the city council on June 1 and was signed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong on June 8.
Section 5 of the ordinance states that minors or people below 18 years of age shall not be allowed inside the premises of said establishments during class hours unless accompanied by a teacher or school authority. If not accompanied by the school authority, a written letter by the student’s school head must be issued and immediately surrendered to any authorized personnel for verification and appropriate sanctions.
Furthermore, under the same section of the ordinance, minors shall be allowed in the shops only until 8:30 PM every day even if accompanied by a guardian.
Under Section 6, students who are not minors shall accomplish their school requirements in the shop only between 6:00 in the morning and 1:00 in the following morning.
The temporary suspension of the said provisions came in the form of a resolution authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda and unanimously approved by the council members during the regular session on October 12.
There is a need to temporarily suspend these certain restrictions imposed by the ordinance in order to allow internet shops to freely offer their services to students in need, Tabanda said.
Tabanda, also the author of Ordinance 55-2020, emphasized the rising need of students to have internet access, which internet shops readily provide, in view of the blended learning approach employed by schools and universities in the country amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Students who have no means to acquire the needed gadgets and no internet connection at the home resort to the services of computer shops,” Tabanda reasoned.
The resolution, however, stressed that computer shops shall allow the entry of minors provided the latter shall use the internet only for their online classes and other school-related activities.
The resolution also called on the administrators/managers of the shops to strictly observe the minimum health protocols – especially physical distancing, regular disinfection, and proper ventilation. –
The resolution awaits the approval of Mayor Benjamin Magalong.