The University of the Philippines Diliman reopened its Academic Oval to the public on Monday, Nov. 15.
UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Aleli Bawagan said that the decision to open the university’s public space came after Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 2.
According to the Vice Chancellor, members of the community have been anticipating the Oval’s reopening. She adds that people have been going to University Avenue even before it formally opened to the public.
“Alam [din] natin na may kakulangan ng mga open spaces dito sa Lungsod [ng] Quezon,” she said.
Unlike previous reopenings, the Academic Oval will now be open daily from 4:00 to 9:00 AM and between 4:00 to 9:00 PM This is also the first time since the pandemic began that the space will be open to all ages.
“Dati ay hindi pwede ang mga bata at may piling araw lamang na bukas. Ngunit tulad nang dati, nais natin ipaabot sa mga tao na panatilihin ang kalinisan at kaayusan ng mga espasyo. Ganoon din panatilihin ang pag-observe ng minimum health protocols,” Bawagan said.
University Avenue, Jacinto, Lakandula, Quirino, Ma. Guererro, Laurel Avenue, Balagtas, and Magsaysay Avenue are also open to bikers. Meanwhile, residential areas within the community will remain closed.
Open spaces in University Avenue, sunken garden, and the PAUW are also open to families or groups of less than 10.
Bawagan said that the UP Diliman Police (UPDP) and Special Services Brigade (SSB) are deployed for security and monitoring. Visitors are asked to wear face masks and follow safety protocols.
According to the Vice Chancellor, vendors were allowed to put up kiosks within the Oval provided that they had trash cans and disposal bins to help maintain cleanliness in the area.
“Napag-usapan sa samahan ng mga manininda na maaari silang magbukas ng kanilang mga kiosk sa side street ng acad oval. May ilang hindi miyembro ng samahan na binigyan na din ng pahintulot magtinda, tulad ng mga nagtataho,” she said.
Bawagan hopes that there would be no further surges of COVID-19 cases so that the Academic Oval could remain open.
She said that is important for the university to “share” its open spaces as a part of its mandates as a public university.
“Nais natin maibahagi sa publiko ang ilang open spaces ng campus, bilang tayo naman ay public university,” Bawagan said. “Lalo na sa mga inidibidwal na matagal nang hindi nakakalabas ng kanilang mga bahay.” DZUP