A group of students leads other pupils at Cebu City Central Elementary School in a dance exercise during the first day of school.
Aldo Nelbert Banaynal
Classes in public schools begin: Smooth opening
Christell Fatima M. Tudtud, Odessa O. Leyson, Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - June 5, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — An estimated 27 million students across the country returned to school as public schools opened a new academic calendar yesterday.

In Cebu, the opening was smooth except for very minor challenges like students enrolling late and small children not ready to let their parents go.

“Kanang dili ready mo-separate sa mama nila ang mga kinder then late enrollees sad. Mag-consolidate pa mi karon sa report sa other schools unsay mga problema nila,” said Dr. Danilo Gudelosao, DepEd-Cebu City Assistant Schools Division Superintendent yesterday.

In a statement, Malacañang described the opening of classes as smooth.

“The Department of Education, together with its partners, through Brigada Eskwela have prepared the schools, making sure they are safe, clean and ready to receive our students. Public assistance and information centers have been activated in the central office, regional and division office and schools to respond to issues and challenges in today’s school opening. The Philippine National Police, on the other hand, has ensured a zero-crime incident outside the vicinity of schools through its ‘Ligtas Balik Eskwela 2018’,” it said.

In Cebu City, the Department of Education has hired at least 130 teachers to augment the teaching staff of schools that are highly populated.

“Kita sa division office, nakakita ta ana nga problema. Atong paspasan ang deployment of teachers. Based on teachers needed sa eskwelahan, i-prioritize ang daghan og kinahanglan,” Gudelosao said.

Ermita Elementary School has requested 10 teachers while Guadalupe Elementary Schools needs 20 more. The usual population of Guadalupe Elementary School would reach up to 5,000 students.

Gudelosao said more teachers would be deployed in the coming months upon the request of principals.

At present, the city has at least 5,500 teaching staff assigned in various schools.

Gudelosao said they are expecting 180,000 enrollees this year.

In Mandaue City, Dr. Estella Susvilla, assistant schools division superintendent, said that despite the ongoing construction of classrooms in the city's public schools, DepEd Mandaue is making sure that classes will not be compromised.

Susvilla said the Department of Public Works and Highways is constructing at least 88 classrooms – 56 for elementary and 32 for high school.

"Gipaspasan naman na nila (sa DPWH). After 2-3 months, magamit na," Susvilla said.

Last year, Mandaue had 65,000 students.


Meanwhile, police in Region 7 will continue to be present in schools in the next 14 days following yesterday’s opening of classes in public schools.

Police assistance desks at schools will remain open and cops will continue to patrol areas near schools to assure parents, teachers, and students of their safety.

“Magsuroy sila (police) sa mga schools. Tan-awon ang mga apektades, suroyon ang dagko nga schools, istoryahon ang mga security og unsa problema… mga 15 days… kada-adlaw bisitahon… mga 15 days okay na siguro para lang maanad,” said newly installed Police Regional Office – 7 Director Debold Sinas.

Yesterday, Debold visited Labangon Elementary School in Cebu City yesterday to meet with the principals and parents.

A parent, Carolina Laresma, said she feels secure when cops are more visible even outside the school.

“At least kay ma-feel nako karon nga safe gyud kay sa entrance pa lang sa school kay naa na mga pulis nga naka-standby. Nahadalok na man sad anang mga gang-gang gud maong nindot nga naa gyud pulis,” she said.

Debold said all station commanders have been alerted to monitor the presence of gangs in areas near schools.

In Mandaue, the start of classes yesterday was also peaceful.

Supt. Jimmy Aguisanda, deputy city director for operations of the Mandaue City Police Office, said that aside from policemen deployed in schools, flyers containing safety tips were also distributed to parents. (FREEMAN)

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