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Ready for school season

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It has been a familiar sight whenever the end of summer approaches — teachers carrying pails or dustpans instead of sticks or chalks; student-volunteers sweeping the floor instead of sitting attentively; and mothers and fellow volunteers fixing chairs and doing repairs.

The bayanihan spirit has been living on for 16 years since Brigada Eskwela was launched in 2003. It is a nationwide annual event known as the National Schools Maintenance Week, where education stakeholders work together to prepare public schools for the upcoming academic year.

This year’s Brigada Eskwela kicked off on 20 May in Alfonso, Cavite.

The annual back-to-school community-led activity continues to attract volunteers, not only those from the education sector but also private organizations whose employees take time off from work to join the activities.

Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones highlighted that the number of volunteers more than doubled in 2018. There were 11 million volunteers in 2017. The following year, in 2018, 22 million signed up for Brigada Eskwela.

 

Back-to-school task force

Following the end of the week-long activity on 25 May, the department began gearing up for Oplan Balik Eskwela from 27 May to 7 June.

At last Monday’s launch, Sec. Briones underscored the importance of an inter-agency task force.

This year’s inter-agency task force consists of the Departments of Energy; Interior and Local Government; Health; National Defense; Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Social Welfare and Development, Industry (DTI) and Transportation; Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System; Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA); Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA); and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The national police force will deploy approximately 6,000 personnel in the National Capital Region and 150,000 personnel nationwide.

School supplies monitoring will be done by DTI from May to June. Maynilad shared that there will be no pipe-laying/repair activities near schools. Meralco, on the other hand, will assess school’s electrical connections as well as trim tree branches along their posts.

DPWH shared their maintenance activities such repainting of pedestrian markings and declogging of drainages while MMDA will focus on increasing awareness on smoke-free campuses.

 

PAGASA will deliver rainy day safety reminders as well as share its protocol on warning services.

 

The Public Assistance Command Center (PACC) is set up at the DepEd Central Office in Pasig City. It will be operational from 27 May to 7 June and will be open for queries and concerns regarding the opening of schools on 3 June.

The following channels will be open to the public through the PACC: hotlines (636-1663, 635-9817, 638-7530, 633-1942, 638-8641, 638-7529 and 634-0222); email ([email protected]); text messaging (0919-4560027); social media (Department of Education–Philippines on Facebook and DepEd_PH on Twitter); walk-in assistance; and legal assistance, if applicable.

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