MANILA, Philippines --- In light of the educational tour mishap in Baguio of students and faculty from the Marinduque State College (MSC), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Saturday issued a reminder on policies and guidelines on educational tours and field trips of college and graduate students.
In an official statement, CHED said that it continues to monitor the incident. "The MSC President Romulo Malvar has submitted a report on the incident and measures being undertaken regarding the unfortunate incident."
Seven people were reportedly killed and 32 others were injured after their tourist bus crashed into a delivery truck along Marcos Highway in Baguio on Thursday. Of the seven killed, six were students, namely, Diane Lauro, Mariel Mingi, Princess Ann Pastorside, Leopoldo Nana, Carlo Pintor, and Mervin Molatino and one teacher, Jenny Liza Lantorva.
CHED said the Regional Office (CHEDRO) 4-B is in close coordination with the MSC since the incident happened. In the brief report submitted by Malvar, it is said that those who joined the educational tour were 31 BS Tourism Management students of MSC's School of Business and Management and two faculty members.
"According to the regional office, MSC transmitted their request to the CHED RO last January 2013 for the educational tour and upon evaluation of the documents submitted, the CHED RO found that the school complied with the necessary documentary requirements as stated in CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) 17, series of 2012," CHED said.
In July 2012, CHED Chairperson Dr. Patricia Licuanan issued the CMO 17 which specified the rules on out-of-school trips, the selection of destinations, charging of fees to help ease the financial burden on college students, roles of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in security of the students joining the educational tours and the sanctions to those who will violate the order.
The latest CMO amended CHED Memorandum Order No. 11 issued in 1997 or "Enjoining all Higher Education Institutions in the Country to Make, insofar as practicable, all Registered Museums and Cultural Sites and Landmarks as Venues for Educational Tours and Field Trips."
Licuanan said the amended CMO directs schools must ensure that "as much as practicable, destination of educational tours and/or field trips should be near the concerned HEI in order to minimize cost."
Consultation with students when planning for field trips which may need additional cost and also compels HEIs to provide "parallel school activities" to students who cannot join the field trips is also required. The memo stressed that HEIs must provide alternative activities for students who cannot join the educational trip. In the memo, Licuanan stressed that "educational tours and field trips should not be made as a substitute of a major examination for the purpose of compelling students to participate in educational activities not otherwise compulsory."
The CMO mandated colleges and universities "to ensure the safety of the students by coordinating with the CHED Regional Offices in their areas and conducting a risk assessment of the places where the educational tours and field trips will be held."
Licuanan said that colleges and universities that will violate the order would be meted sanctions ranging from a "written warning for the 1st offense, suspension from conducting such undertakings for a period of time for the 2nd offense and for the succeeding offense, disapproval of the application for other school fees increase and introduction of new fees, administrative and criminal charges against school officials concerned as well as the possible revocation of the school permits, downgrading of status and even the phase-out of the institution concerned."