MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) en banc unanimously agreed to impose a moratorium on all field trips and educational tours in all higher education institutions following the Tanay bus accident.
CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan and Commissioner Prospero de Vera III confirmed this to Rappler on Tuesday, February 21.
Licuanan said CHED will make an announcement regarding the moratorium on Tuesday afternoon.
At least 15 people were killed after a bus traveling along Sitio Bayucan in Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, crashed into an electric post on Monday, February 20.
The bus was taking around 50 students from Bestlink College of the Philippines to a camping trip in Tanay.
De Vera announced earlier on Tuesday that he would ask the Commission en banc to "immediately issue a directive to all higher education institutions so we can properly investigate this tragedy and review current policies covering field trips."
According to De Vera, education tours and field trips are regulated under CHED Memorandum Order 17, which requires the following:
He added that HEIs must inform the CHED regional office about the activity a month before it is held.
"The Tanay tragedy is a reminder that we must be very strict in regulating the use of public transportation for school-sponsored trips. We must also determine if higher education institutions comply with requirements of safety and whether current policies adequately protect students," he added.
According to a Philippine Star report, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board is set to issue a 30-day preventive suspension order against Panda Coach Tourist and Transport Incorporated, the bus company involved in the accident.
In his statement, De Vera said the CHED-National Capital Region has already instructed school officials to immediately submit an incident report. This will aid CHED in determining whether its regulations were violated.
Hours after Monday's accident, Licuanan issued a statement saying the Commission will study if its prescribed policies and guidelines on educational tours and field trips were met. – Rappler.com
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.