Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua on Monday said president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s government should overturn the “obsolete” restrictions on in-person classes and push for the full resumption of face-to-face (F2F) classes.

In his final briefing as National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief, Chua decried how children were allowed to go to malls and other establishments but not schools.

“With all our children safely back inside their classrooms, our recovery from the pandemic will be stronger and their future more secure,” he said.

Earlier this year, the NEDA said the country lost P22 trillion because of the restrictions implemented on F2F classes due to the pandemic.

Resuming full F2F classes would add P12 billion to the economy weekly, it added.

Chua said he had already forwarded to Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III his proposal twice and pushed Marcos Jr. to “take very seriously” the education sector.

“The repercussions on children’s present and future development are very much affected by the ability to learn better,” he said.

The Department of Education is expecting schools to have a full implementation of F2F classes next school year.

Marcos Jr. has tapped vice-president-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio as his education secretary. Marcos has also named Arsenio Balisacan as Chua’s replacement in NEDA. John Ezekiel J. Hirro