In its mission to provide safe and clean learning spaces for Filipino learners, the Department of Education (DepEd) jumpstarted this year’s Brigada Eskwela at Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, simultaneous with all the public schools in the country. With the theme Tayo Para sa Kalinisan, Kaligtasan at Kahandaan ng ating mga Paaralan, the week-long school maintenance practice aims to prepare schools for the coming school year and to promote volunteerism among the members of the community. "The Philippines is the biggest country, if not, the only country in the world that gathers and prepares the schools for the coming school year." said Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC to the volunteers of Numancia Central Elementary School (CES) in Siargao Island. He also said that the invitation to help out in schools is "extended to all volunteers who are willing to contribute their time, effort, and resources for the preparation of public schools." Parents, teachers, students and all other education stakeholders are encouraged to volunteer from May 18 to 23 for the Brigada Eskwela. Now on its 12th year, the program ensures that all public school facilities are ready come School Year (SY) 2015-2016.
During this week, all volunteers will aid in repainting classrooms, fixing damaged school furniture, repair broken windows, among others.
Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario Deriquito expressed his gratitude for those who were present during the kick-off at Numancia CES. "Brigada Eskwela is for everyone." he said. Reminders for the week-long school maintenance were reiterated by Usec Deriquito to all the volunteers present in the National Kick-off.
After the initial start of the Brigada Eskwela at Numancia CES, various activities like tree planting, cement mixing, repainting of walls and fences, repairing of school chairs, and tilling of school grounds were held at Del Carmen National HS, Cancohoy ES, Katipunan ES, Mahayahay ES, ang Oguing Navarro Memorial NHS of which were participated in by Sec. Luistro and Usec. Deriquito along with the local government officials.
Some of the volunteers expressed their support in program and said, "Malaking tulong po ito para sa mga anak namin, kaya kami sumasama sa pag-aayos ng mga klasrum. (This is a big help for our children that is why we are volunteering in this program."
Some of them even said, "Pumupunta po kami ditong mga magulang para makiisa sa pag-aayos ng mga paaralan.
Kapag may libre kaming oras, pumupunta kami at kahit anong oras, kahit anong petsa man, kapag kailangan naming tumulong sa paaralan, tutulong kami. (We parents come here to be one with those who are volunteering to fix the schools. When we have free time, we go here and if we see that there are things that need our assistance, whichever date, whenever time that might be, we will be here to help.)"
Luistro also commended Siargao Island for having 22 schools which will offer Grade 11 come June 2016. He said, "Our target is to have one Senior High School per municipality but if we already have 22, that would already be a minimum of two SHS schools per municipality in Siargao.”
Luistro then encouraged everyone to register under the Abot-Alam Program, of which booths are in every school, for those out-of-school youth or for those who would want to finish high school.
Ultimately, the opening at Siargao Island gathered different volunteers – parents, students, teachers, local government employees and officials, individuals, and the private sector and are still expected to grow in number by the end of the week. The opening of classes will be on June 1 which will also see the introduction of the new curriculum for Grades 4 and 10. # Adapted, DepED-Ilocos Sur.