By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
While everyone is welcome to participate in the “Brigada Eskwela,” the Department of Education (DepEd) reminded principals and school heads of public schools to abide by the guidelines set by the department on the implementation of the program.
DepEd is scheduled to conduct simultaneous “Brigada Eskwela” activities starting May 20, Monday to May 25, Saturday. In the duration of the schools maintenance week, Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service Tonisito Umali, Esq. reiterated the school heads should ensure that the activity remains voluntary.
The “Brigada Eskwela,” DepEd said, “espouses the spirit of volunteerism” thus, taking part in the school repair and other maintenance work is neither “mandatory nor requisite for parents to enable their children to be accommodated in the school.”
Likewise, DepEd reminded that no fee shall be solicited from the volunteers. “Kindly inform us or report to us if there are schools or personnel that solicit money or donations for the activity,” he said in Filipino.
Citing its existing DepEd orders, the department warned that “receiving assistance or support from companies and other players in the tobacco industry for the Brigada Eskwela is not allowed.” Moreover, DepEd reiterated that “schools may not receive any forms of contribution/donations” from candidates for political posts.
DepEd officially kicked off the 16th Brigada Eskwela with the theme “Matatag na Bayan para sa Maunlad na Paaralan” on May 16 at Alfonso Central School in Alfonso, Cavite. More than 1,000 DepEd key officials from the Central, Regional, and Division offices and stakeholders from national government agencies and local government units of Cavite, private sector partners, and various members of the community gathered in the national kickoff and caravan to express their commitment to the annual activity.
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Alternative Learning System Program and Task Force G.H. Ambat and the regional directors joined the actual bayanihan in two schools in Alfonso: Pansin Elementary School and Kaysuyo National High School.
Support for education is always there
Represented by Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones stated that there has never been a lack of support for the education sector.
“After all, education is not the business of DepEd alone,” Briones said in her message. “It is the responsibility of our communities; it is a national responsibility,” she added. In the same message, she noted that the number of volunteers ballooned from 11 million in 2017 to 22 million in 2018, which proves that Brigada Eskwela “brings out the best in Filipinos” and that the spirit of bayanihan is still “very much alive as communities ensure that Filipino learners will have a clean, safe, and conducive learning environment during the first day of classes.”
Briones ended her message by acknowledging the efforts of every Filipino to building the nation: “Today is one of those few occasions when Filipinos across the country set aside differences and become integral members of a united community with a common goal: to nurture lifelong learners whose values and competencies enable them to contribute meaningfully to nation-building.”
The national kickoff also featured advocacy campaign and orientations, and skills training. The event also emphasized the spirit of camaraderie and showcased the festivity of Filipino traditions through a Pista sa Bayan. The event also intensified the no single-use plastic advocacy by distributing reusable water tumblers and setting up water stations instead of handing out bottled water for guests.
READ MORE: DepEd kicks off ‘Brigada Eskwela’