Cebu News

Brigada Eskwela in Cebu Province starts today; DepEd-7 to focus on Yolanda-affected schools

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The annual Brigada Eskwela program of  Department of  Education-7 will commence today.

DepEd-7 Director Carmelita Dulangon said they will focus on the repair of damaged school buildings in areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda that struck Central Visayas last year.

“Regional officials will have a caravan together with the local government officials of  Madridejos, Santa Fe, and Bantayan….  There will be simultaneous launching activities in the 19 schools division in Region7, pero special-lon gyod pag-adto sa region ang Bantayan Island” she said.

Dulangon said DepEd and other stakeholders will conduct clean-up activities there as preparation for the June 9 classes.

“Among tan-awon didto kumusta na intawon sila (We will see how they are faring there) in terms of their preparations for June kay daghan man kaayo ang naguba nga eskwelahan sa (because several schools were destroyed by) Yolanda,” she said, referring to the November 8 super typhoon that killed thousands of people and destroyed structures, including schools.

Dulangon said students affected during the onslaught of the super typhoon in Bantayan have finished their school year last March.

She urged parents who have children in public schools and volunteers to participate in ensuring that schools are okay for use already before classes begin.

Dulangon said DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro has directed all schools to immediately start classroom instruction on the very first day of classes and not have the students do clean-up activities.

She said DepEd is hoping to finish soon its school building rehabilitation efforts.

“For the reconstruction work, ongoing nami, we are just racing against time. But the process of bidding moagi man gud og (must comply with) COA rules, nga maoy makadala sa pagkalangay gamay (which causes delay in implementation),” she said.

“But we hope that early July, mahuman atong mga (we finish constructing all) buildings aron makasulod na gyud sila sa ilang (so students could already have their) classrooms,” she said, adding that 400 buildings were already constructed in the region.

She said before the major calamities struck the region, buildings were bid at P800, 000 each. But, after earthquakes, consecutive aftershocks, and typhoons, buildings are peg at P1 million.

Dulangon said this year’s Brigada Eskwela or National Schools Maintenance week will make schools become disaster-resilient so that students are assured of a safe place for learning.  She was thankful for “consistent partners” Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (AFI) in DepEd’s school rehabilitation and school building program.

Both RAFI and AFI have set aside millions in funds and donations in the repair and/or building of classrooms in northern Cebu schools affected by Yolanda last year.

“The whole country needs attention in introducing new school building designs nga resilient na sa bagyo or linog and naa pa gani mga sunog (against typhoons, earthquakes, and even fires),” she said.

Brigada Eskwela is 2003 DepEd initiative that aims to encourage volunteers from all walks of life in the clean-up, repair, and repainting of classrooms and other school facilities in preparation for the school opening.

DepEd has scheduled the annual nationwide program every third week of May, or at least a week before the start of classes. —(FREEMAN)

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