By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) announced that 22-million volunteers were mobilized in this year’s conduct of the “Brigada Eskwela”– which is almost twice as last year’s 12 million.
Education Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and School Sports Tonisito M. C. Umali, Esq., made this announcement during the National Brigada Eskwela Awards held at Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Convention and Sports Center in November.
“Compared to 2016, we see a steady and impressive growth in the total resources generated,” Umali said, emphasizing the almost “P4.7 billion worth of resources generated by the program in 2018 alone.”
DepEd has been conducting “Brigada Eskwela” every year to prepare public school facilities for the opening of classes for the school year in June. Also known as the National Schools Maintenance Week, the “Brigada Eskwela” is an annual cleanup effort initiated by the DepEd.
The activity also aims to bring together all education stakeholders to participate and contribute their time, effort and resources to prepare public school facilities for the opening of the school year in June.
With this year’s theme, “Pagkakaisa Para sa Handa, Ligtas at Matatag na Paaralan Tungo sa Magandang Kinabukasan,” the “Brigada Eskwela” continues to mobilize the community and generate stakeholder support to make classrooms and facilities ready for school opening, toward the “betterment of the learning conditions of the Filipino learners.”
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Leonor Briones lauded 131 elementary and secondary schools that were recognized as the best implementers of the “Brigada Eskwela” from various regions nationwide.
“If you are a multi-awarded school in Brigada Eskwela, therefore, it says something about your school,” said Briones during the awarding in November. “I commend you for accumulating such award, for being self-reliant, and for working with the LGUs, churches and other civil society groups,” she added.
Furthermore, Briones underscored the importance of “Brigada Eskwela” in uniting DepEd’s partners and stakeholders in the pursuit of quality, accessible, relevant and liberating basic education for the Filipino learners.
“It’s a statement that whatever our differences are, we are here in this hall, we come from different political persuasions from the different regions, from different religious beliefs, but we are one with the belief that education is the most important legacy that we can give to our children,” Briones said.
A total of 17 schools – which have sustained their achievements for three consecutive years – received distinction as Hall of Famers, while 29 were awarded as Brigada Eskwela Plus Most Sustained Schools during the ceremonies.
Special awards were also granted to Caraga region for the highest percentage of increase in volunteer turnout, as well as to Region 4-A (Calabarzon) for obtaining the highest percentage of increase in resources generated.
Three regional and 18 division Brigada Eskwela coordinators/partnership focal persons were further bestowed with leadership awards. Meanwhile, 17 local government officials from all over the county also received the Gawad Ka-Brigada.