The Department of Education (DepEd) reactivated on Monday its National Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) to engage its partner government agencies and education stakeholders in preparation for the opening of classes on June 3.
“Ang konsepto natin dito ay ang edukasyon ay hindi lamang responsibilidad ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon. Lahat ng ating government agencies, including the private sector, ay nagtutulungan para sa paghahanda sa pagbabalik-eskwela ng ating mga bata (Our concept here is that education is not just responsibility of the Department of Education. All government agencies, including the private sector, work together for our learners who are going back to school),” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a press conference at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office.
To ensure the smooth flow of traffic to schools on Monday, Maynilad Water Services Key Relations Division head Eva Manalang assured the public that “there will be no pipe-laying or repair activities near the schools on school opening”.
“And the ongoing excavations near schools will also be put on hold to ensure there are safe and passable areas for the motorists and the pedestrians when classes start,” she added.
Manalang also presented their Lingkod Eskwela Program, which gives public school students access to potable water through the drink-wash facilities they have installed in some schools.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Policy Bureau director Dominic Tolentino said their agency has already started with the intensified the weekly monitoring of school supplies’ prices with its Gabay sa Presyo ng School Supplies from May to June.
“In partnership with some manufacturers and retailers, the DTI also conducts the “Oplan Balik Eskwela Diskwento Caravan” which gives the consumers access to basic goods, school supplies, and prime commodities at discounted prices,” she added.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), through its Ligtas Balik Eskwela, has established a partnership with the academe, students, youth sector and the community with regard to anti-bullying and anti-illegal drugs campaigns.
“We will deploy 6,000 personnel in the National Capital Region alone, and 150,000 personnel nationwide to prevent and suppress the occurrence of criminal and terroristic incidents targeting the general public including the students, teachers, and parents,” said Maj. Gen. Benigno Durana Jr., head of the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations.
Meralco Roosevelt Business Center manager Jeffrey Cuchon said One Meralco Foundation will conduct an assessment of school’s electrical connection to ensure compliance with electrical wiring safety standard while Department of Energy senior science research specialist Mark Mapollano said their agency will “make sure that there will be sufficient power distribution in the country”.
For the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s part, senior weather specialist Christopher Perez delivered rainy day safety reminders and discussed the protocols on warning services.
Perez also cited a “possible rainy school opening on June 3 since typhoons are usually expected in June especially in Luzon”.
Department of Public Works and Highways Assistant Secretary Antonio Molano reported the maintenance activities of its district engineering offices inside and within the vicinities of the schools, including the repainting of pedestrian markings and de-clogging of drainages.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Undersecretary Frisco San Juan said their agency, through the Balik Eskwela Program, shall focus on “increasing awareness on smoke-free campuses and protecting the youth from the dangers of smoking this year”.
To address the problems, queries, and other concerns commonly encountered by public at the start of the school year, the DepEd also reopened the Public Assistance Command Center (PACC) at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan in its headquarters.
The PACC will be operational from May 27 to June 7. It will also serve as the information and complaints processing and routing zone for the duration of the OBE.
Meanwhile, all the regional and schools division offices are also enjoined to set up a command center to receive and respond to concerns directly from the ground. (Ma. Teresa Montemayor/PNA)