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DepEd launches Oplan Balik Eskwela today

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star
DepEd launches Oplan Balik Eskwela today
Shoemakers at a factory in Marikina City work on their day off yesterday to meet the high demand for school shoes ahead of the resumption of in-person classes on Aug. 22.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is launching today its annual Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) program that aims to ensure a smooth and orderly opening of classes in public schools for school year 2022-2023 on Aug. 22.

The launch signals the DepEd’s determination to stick to the academic calendar, which sets the opening of classes next Monday, despite calls from some sectors to delay the resumption of classes for various reasons.

Education Undersecretary Epimaco Densing will lead the launch. Densing is also the chief of staff of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, who serves as the 2022 OBE chairperson.

The DepEd will allow public schools to decide whether they will implement in-person classes, blended learning or full distance learning on Aug. 22.

DepEd spokesman Michael Poa told The STAR that from Aug. 22 to Oct. 31, schools have the option to implement in-person, blended or full distance learning.

“After Oct. 31, (it will be) in-person (classes) for all schools,” Poa added.

This was all laid down in DepEd Order 34 issued last July 11 by Duterte, according to the DepEd spokesman.

The order set the school calendar and activities for SY 2022-2023.

Road safety preparations in place

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) yesterday said its preparations for the resumption of classes are already in place.

In an interview yesterday, PNP-HPG chief Brig. Gen. Clifford Gairanod said he has created the operational guidelines for the return of face-to-face classes later this month.

The PNP-HPG has put in place a security and deployment plan to ensure the safety of students, according to Gairanod.

“We will have road safety marshals, and we will have an information drive. We will give leaflets containing several safety and anti-crime tips,” he said in Filipino, in an interview with radio station dzBB.

He added that there are also scheduled conferences with various units of the PNP-HPG across the country.

The newly installed PNP-HPG chief said they are also coordinating with local police units to increase the police force in time for the reopening of classes.

“We are also coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Office (regarding the routes) for the reopening of classes,” he added. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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