How Brigada Eskwela changed a Zamboanga Sibugay community
ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – Brigada Eskwela may just be an annual clean-up drive for others, but for a community in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay, it’s more than just a school activity.
Beverly Alcoriza, the school principal of Ipil National High School (INHS), noted that before Brigada Eskwela was implemented by then-Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Jesli Lapus, they used to have 2 weeks of school cleaning when classes began in June.
This would cut the prescribed number of school days intended for learning, creating a big disadvantage for students. (READ: #BrigadaEskwela kicks off nationwide)
“No parents are invited to clean back then, only the students. Sa pagpanglimpyu, naay mga parte ng dili mahuman kay init na kaayo, so pagka-ugma napud humanon. There are subjects that will be sacrificed – subjects that should have started already,” Alcoriza told Rappler.
(There are parts of the campus that cannot be cleaned in a day due to severe heat, so they will finish it the next day, or the day after.)
When the first Brigada Eskwela started, parents were elated to observe that classes began on the designated first day of school.
“It is the day that when parents inspect their students’ notebook, they can see something written on it because it was really used for instruction,” Alcoriza noted.
In addition, the school principal also recognized the vital role of the students, parents and stakeholders in the success of this program.
“This is how the stakeholders, and the community as a whole, realized that they also own the school,” she said. “I personally saw that through this activity, the school management, the parents and the community officials developed their partnership and closeness. (This is) the time when they can listen to school programs (and learn) where their services are needed."
Competion and camaraderie
For 2017, Ipil National High School will compete for the Big School category in the Brigada Eskwela Competition. As the school moves towards this national recognition, Alcoriza is confident that the community will give its utmost support. Just last 2016, the school bagged 3rd Place in Exceptional School Category during the same competition for the Zamboanga Peninsula region.
On the first day of Brigada Eskwela on Monday, May 15, at least 800 parents and students participated in the activity in INHS. This number significantly surpassed last year’s first day registration.
Alcoriza also confirmed that the local Bureau of Fire Protection and Municipal Police Station are set to extend their help in the endeavor. The Zamboanga Sibugay Health Office also pledged to donate health kits containing medicines and first aid materials for disaster risk reduction and management.
Cash donations from local residents also poured in, which is allocated for buying repair and repaint materials.
“This activity will not only prepare the school for the students, but it will also foster volunteerism among the students, parents, and the local officials, not only for this Brigada Eskwela, but to every school activity for the betterment of the community,” Alcoriza noted.
From May 15-20, 2017, All public schools in the country will hold the School Maintenance Week also known as Brigada Eskwela, spearheaded by the DepEd. – Rappler.com
Jieven Santisteban is Rappler's lead Mover in Zamboanga. He is also a writer for JourKnows.