Despite the challenges brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the Department of education should continue for millions of Filipino learners nationwide.
“We have COVID, we have a crisis, but life goes on,” Briones said in a statement issued on Monday, March 8.
“So you continue building your schools, you continue enrolling the children, continue teaching them even we are facing this very difficult challenge,” she added.
On March 4, Briones and President Duterte spearheaded the DepEd’s simultaneous inauguration of school buildings in Bulacan and Valenzuela.
This, DepEd said, is in line with the government’s efforts to deliver to the learners’ and teachers’ need to provide conducive, inclusive, and resilient schools.
During the inauguration, Briones expressed her gratitude to the President for his support to the education sector.
“We all know how big his devotion is to education,” she said.
In particular, Briones commended Duterte’s support of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program of DepEd.
“He also supported the new approaches, new ways to endure education continuity,” she said in Filipino.
Briones added that “there was no project – whether new or old – that the President did not support when education is concerned.”
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Field Operations Revsee Escobedo explained that that the department “is doing its best to address the lack of classrooms” – as well as the need to rehabilitate old school buildings.
Escobedo noted that that the construction of school buildings is one way of ensuring that that the youth will have access to quality education.
“Kaya tayo ay nagpo-propose sa kongreso na hangga’t maaari, kung kakayanin ng pamahalaan ,ay ma-address natin ‘yong lack of classrooms at higit pa riyan ay ma-repair o ma-rehabilitate natin ‘yong mga lumang buildings (This is why we proposed to the Congress that as much as possible, with the help of the government, we address the lack of classroom and repair or rehabilitate the old buildings),” he added.
The inauguration consists of 12 school buildings, seven in Bulacan and five in Valenzuela City.
The General Gregorio H. Del Pilar Integrated School in Bulakan, Bulacan has two units of 4-storey with 28 classrooms and one 4-storey units with 12 classrooms.
Virginia Ramirez-Cruz High School in Pandi, Bulacan received four units of 4-storey with 20 classrooms.
Meanwhile, Valenzuela City’s Lawang Bato National High School inaugurated 4-storey, 8-classroom; 4-storey, 20-classroom; and 4-storey, 16-classroom.
Canumay East National High School had two units of 4-storey, 8-classroom.
President Duterte, on the other hand, also acknowledged the efforts of agencies concerned – the DepEd and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – in this program and their commitment to promote the rights to quality and accessible education at all levels.
“Your collective efforts in these projects have been crucial in creating a more conducive, inclusive, and resident learning environment for students,” the President said.
The said ceremony was also attended by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Senator Bong Go, and DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Regional III Director May Eclar, National Capital Region (NCR) Director Malcolm Garma, Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, and Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian.