Annual school cleanup startsBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education is calling on the public to support Brigada Eskwela, the yearly schools maintenance week that starts in Manila on Monday.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro called on students, parents and other stakeholders to take part in the annual schools cleanup, set from May 21 to 26, to prepare some 45,000 public elementary and high schools nationwide for the opening of classes on June 4.
The DepEd said the simultaneous cleanup would focus on upgrading sanitation facilities and improving the schools in indigenous communities.
“The difference this year is we’re focusing on hygiene and on IPs (indigenous peoples) because we want all youth aged 5 to 16 to have access to education… We know that hygiene and health are very important. If a child is sick, how will he or she go to school?” said Assistant Secretary Jesus Mateo in an interview.
He said schools should repair their classrooms and sanitation facilities or build additional rooms if they have the funds.
The annual cleanup is an opportunity for a community to come together and help in making schools conducive to learning.
“Equally important, it hopes to revive the “bayanihan” spirit among Filipinos by engaging the participation of education stakeholders in the community. The benefits of education redound to many sectors of society, this is why we encourage everyone to pitch in,” said Luistro in a statement.
Luistro will lead the Brigada Eskwela at Justo Lukban Elementary School in Paco, Manila, Monday morning, along with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, United Nations Children’s Fund country representative Tomoo Hozumi and Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing.
Private organizations have also expressed support for the program, including Philippine Business for Social Progress, Chamber of Mines and United States Agency for International Development.