GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 May) – The ongoing Brigada Eskwela here has received a major boost with the release of some P5-million worth of assistance from the first congressional district office of South Cotabato.
City Councilor Margareth Rose Santos, chair of the city council’s education committee, said the fund assistance was earlier committed by South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. to help prepare local public elementary and secondary schools for the scheduled formal opening of classes on June 3.
She said the funds were specifically intended for initiatives related with the conduct of the week-long Brigada Eskwela 2013 that opened on Monday.
Among the ongoing Brigada Eskwela activities in the area were the cleanup of classrooms and school compounds; repair of damaged classrooms, chairs, cabinets and tables; repainting of classrooms; and the construction of other necessary school facilities.
Spearheaded by the Department of Education (DepEd), the Brigada Eskwela or the National Schools Maintenance Week is now on its 10th year.
The initiative is a nationwide voluntary effort that started in 2003, bringing together teachers, parents, and the community to do cleanup and repairs in public schools to prepare the facilities for the June school opening.
Undertaken in all public schools every third week of May or two weeks before classes begin, it is participated in by private organizations, individuals, national and local government agencies, local businesses, and international organizations and foundations, among others.
In this city, Brigada Eskwela 2013 chair Leonorita Pineda said the activity is presently in full swing with hundreds of volunteers contributing their time, efforts and available spare resources.
She said massive cleanup activities were ongoing in schools that were used as polling centers in the May 13 elections.
Aside from parents and community stakeholders, volunteers from local groups and institutions like the Philippine National Police were also involved in the initiative, Pineda said.
At the New Society Elementary School in Barangay Apopong here, school principal EdnaVilches said their activities include the construction of two additional makeshift classrooms.
The school emerged last year as the city’s best implementer of the Brigada Eskwela program.
Vilches said the initiative was aimed at addressing the projected increase in the school’s population in the upcoming school year with the full implementation of DepEd’s K-to-12 program.
“Our preparations are focused on our upcoming Grade 1 and kindergarten classes,” she said.