MANILA, Philippines – On Monday, June 4, a new school year will open with about 28 million students expected to return to public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
As part of the Department of Education’s (DepEd’s) Oplan Balik Eskwela, various government agencies and private partners detailed plans and preparation for the opening of school year 2018-2019.
“This is not just the undertaking of the department, this is the undertaking of the entire community of Filipinos who is interested in, and advocates quality education,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.
How are partner agencies preparing for the opening of the coming school year?
Here is a list of the tasks of partners compiled by Rappler:
- Assess school’s electrical facilities for compliance with electrical wiring safety standards
- Trim tree branches around electrical facilities in school vicinities
- Distribute “Safe ang School Ko” assessment forms (as basis for implementing proper corrections electrical conditions)
According to Meralco representative Martin Co, Meralco has assessed 2,628 schools in its franchise areas.
Philippine National Police (PNP)
PNP Senior Superintendent Rudolph Dimas said the PNP will deploy 28,000 cops to ensure the safety and security of students, teachers, parents, and school personnel nationwide. They will have the following roles:
Directorate for police community relations
- Organize deployment of volunteer groups to assist in providing public safety security services, traffic assistance
- Distribution of safety tips and anti-crime leaflets
- Ensure participation of PNP units during flag-raising ceremonies, anti-criminality activities
Highway patrol group
- Deploy road safety marshals along main roads
- Inspect transportation terminals in partnership with local government units and other concerned agencies “to ensure road worthiness” of public utility vehicles
Police regional offices
- Coordinate with schools to establish police assistance desks in school campuses
- Patrol major roads leading to all schools, school premises
- Continue anti-criminality operations in crime-prone areas
- Enhance police presence in schools, assign dedicated police commissioned officers (PCOs) to address bullying incidents in coordination with schools
The PNP also announced that there were no reported terror threats in relation to the school opening.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
Lilian Salonga, assistant director of the DTI Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau, said the agency completed its Oplan Balik Eskwela Diskwento Caravan on May 21 in Makati City, which aimed to give consumers access to basic goods and school supplies at discounted prices.
Salonga said the DTI has intensified its weekly price monitoring of school supplies such as noteboooks, pad papers, pencils, ballpens, crayons, erasers, sharpeners, and rulers during the months of May and June.
Department of Health (DOH)
For the coming school year, the DOH said it would contribute to the reduction of child morbidity and mortality by placing an emphasis on the importance of schools ensuring:
- clean environment and proper waste segregation
- quality and integrity of food in canteens
- availability of potable water
- availability of handwashing requirements
DOH said it also planned to continue information campaigns on how to respond during emergencies and natural disasters.
The department would also continue to regularly monitor students vaccinated with Dengvaxia, and assist concerned families who reach out to DepEd.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)
PAGASA Weather Services Chief Esperanza Cayanan said the weathe forecast on the opening day of classes was partly cloudy in the morning, while afternoon to evening would be cloudy with chance of thunderstorms.
In order to prepare for the expected school opening weather, Cayanan said students should bring fans, towels, and umbrellas. Students should also be aware of flood-prone areas around their schools.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
For students in conflict situations, Rosalie Dagulo, officer-in-charge of Community Programs and Services Bureau, said the agency would give aid to eligible beneficiaries to help with the cost of tuition fees, school supplies, transportation, and other school-related expenses.
Dagulo said that in 2017, the department provided P458.6 million in assistance to 201,861 students nationwide.
DSWD said it would also do the following for children below 5 years old:
- Provide supplementary care to 3 to 4.11 year-olds before kindergarten for parents who cannot take care of children because of work or other reasons
- Provide supplemental feeding programs in children’s development centers as part of its early childhood care and development program (ECCD)
- Provide supervised neighborhood play to two- to 4 year-olds who are not able to avail of ECCD programs
Department of Energy (DOE)
During the Oplan Balik Eskwela launch, the DOE assured DepED of sufficient power distribution in the country.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya announced that the DILG would enact the Anti-Truancy Ordinance, which would monitor the entry of uniformed students in malls, internet cafes, and other recreation centers during school hours.
Malaya also said the DILG would urge the convening of local school boards and schools’ division superintendents, to address needs before the start of classes as well as the utilization of available resources under the Special Education Fund.
The DILG also urged the following to convene:
- Local council for peace and order
- Local council for health
- Local council for protection of children
- Local disaster risk reduction management council
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
For the opening of classes, the MMDA said the agency would deploy more than 2,980 constables to support the following groups to help guarantee peace and order within Metro Manila:
- Traffic engineering center
- Sidewalk clearing operations group
- Anti-smoking enforcement group