PASIG CITY – The Department of Education (DepEd) and its partners from both the government and private sector work together in ensuring that all learners will have safe and conducive learning environment come June 5, 2017—the scheduled opening of classes for School Year (SY) 2017-2018.
Officials and representatives of the various agency partners laid down their commitments and efforts in achieving this joint objective with the Education Department during the Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) Command Conference held on June 1, 2017 at the Bulwagan ng Karunugan, DepEd Central Office (CO) in Pasig City.
Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat welcomed and expressed her gratitude to all the partner agencies and organizations of DepEd in this initiative, “We keep saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and today, we are happy to see that the village is here—the village that helps and prepares for the school opening.”
Undersecretary Jesus Mateo recognized DepEd’s continuing partnership with the OBE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) members, “Kasama natin ngayon ang iba’t ibang ahensya at organisayon na ating katuwang sa pagsisiguro na ang mga mag-aaral ay ligtas at tayo ay handa na sa pagbubukas ng klase ngayong taon.”
Mateo further reported that yearly, the OBE centers receive less inquiries, complaints, and reports due to the convergence of DepEd with other agencies and organizations, and the media.
Electrical safety activities
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) commitments include ensuring the energy stability and expand energy access to those in need.
The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) has committed to ensure that schools have safe electrical connections by conducting electrical safety assessment activities in various schools, wherein the results and corrective measures to be done are properly explained to the school principals and facility coordinators.
Cascading of electrical safety tips and tree trimming activities will also be conducted in some schools.
Safe and potable water
The Maynilad and Manila Water under Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) have committed to provide safe and potable water in drinking fountains and wash areas of schools. This will be done under Maynilad’s Lingkod Eskwela and Manila Water’s Lingap Eskwela.
Furthermore, potability water testing and sampling, and desludging of school septic tanks will also be conducted in various schools nationwide.
Readiness for rainy season
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has committed to provide accurate and timely weather forecast and climate outlook that learners may use as reference when travelling to and from schools, especially during the rainy season.
Safe and properly marked roads to school
To ensure that learners’ travel to and from school will be safe, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has instructed its District Engineers to conduct various activities in line with the opening of classes. These include repair/maintenance of roads/canals leading to schools; painting of pedestrian lanes and lane markings; installation of traffic signs/boards; assistance on cleaning of schools; cleaning/painting of classrooms, and repairs of tables and chairs; and mobilization of any form of donations such as plywood, roofing materials, paints, etc.
Addressing traffic congestions
Anticipating the millions of students to soon troop to schools, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will deploy 2,296 traffic constables along critical areas leading to schools that are prone to traffic congestion.
Moreover, the MMDA will also deploy other support personnel from its Traffic Engineering Center (TEC), Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG), Anti-Jaywalking Unit, Anti-Smoking Enforcement Group, and Metro Parkway Clearing Group Personnel to perform their respective tasks.
Monitoring of school supplies
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has committed to disseminate the Gabay sa Pamimili ng School Supplies to DTI Regional Offices, Local Government Units, various government agencies, and school supplies retailers.
With the suggested retail prices (SRPs) guide, consumers will be properly informed and guided in their purchases of school supplies such as notebooks, pad papers, crayons, pencils, ballpens, and erasers.
Mobilizing local government units
One of the commitments of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is to put up a National Barangay Operations Office hotline that the public may call for school-related concerns in their locality.
Schools as zones of peace
One of the commitments of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in ensuring the safety of learners include the deployment of intelligence teams near the vicinities of schools and other crime-prone areas where snatching, robbery/hold-up, and other crimes are pervasive.
Also included in their efforts are the distribution of crime prevention leaflets to students, parents, and school authorities; and intensifying intelligence operations against drug pushers/dealers and other criminal elements victimizing students.
Disaster-preparedness of schools
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD), in cooperation with the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), will update safety information, education, and communication (IEC) materials that will be disseminated to students, parents, and school authorities.
Moreover, the OCD Regional Offices will also give an accurate and appropriate alert level status on the prevailing situation.
Agency partner representatives present at the event were MERALCO Manager and Head of Alabang Business Center Benjamin Nolasco; MWSS Senior Deputy Administrator-Officer-In-Charge Ronald Abrigo; PAGASA Weather Division Chief Esperanza Cayanan; DPWH Bureau of Maintenance Director Ernesto Gregorio, Jr.; and MMDA Planning and Design Division Chief Emilio Llavor.
Also present at the event were DOE Undersecretary Raul Aguilus; DOH Medical Officer V Arnel Rivera; DTI Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua; DILG Public Relations Officer II Daryl Jaramilla; PNP Public Safety Division Assistant Chief Johnny Capalos; and OCD Policy Development and Planning Service Officer-In-Charge Allen Fortes.
The OBE-IATF ensures that all school opening concerns will be addressed, including those concerns outside the purview of DepEd.
source: Deped Website