DepEd, PNP: First-day classes safe, secure, orderly | Inquirer News

DepEd, PNP: First-day classes safe, secure, orderly

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 04:30 AM June 02, 2015

With thousands of policemen posted in strategic areas, Monday’s opening of classes in public schools was generally peaceful with no untoward incidents reported among students flocking back to classes.

This was the assessment of the Philippine National Police on the first day of classes in most public schools in the country.

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“The opening was generally peaceful, safe and secure … We plan to use the same security template as private schools resume their classes in a few weeks,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias told reporters.

Over 25 million students are expected to go back to school this month as classes in the primary and secondary levels resume.

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In Metro Manila, the PNP deployed 24,000 cops to operate police assistance desks near schools.

The PNP officer in charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, reminded police chiefs to maintain vigilance and intensified police visibility operations near schools.

Assistance desks

Tobias said it would be up to local commanders to assess if continued police deployment would be needed in the coming weeks.

The PNP will maintain assistance desks near schools for the first two weeks until the situation settles down.

“We will pull out the police assistance desks only when we see that the situation has stabilized and the flow of human traffic to schools has normalized,” Espina said.

The PNP is working with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to oversee the traffic situation near schools.

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Espina said the installation of surveillance cameras in places of convergence was also expected to prevent street crimes.

Education Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera said the opening of classes was “more orderly” compared to previous years.

“Before, students will enter school in a very disorderly (manner), chairs were lacking. Those have been addressed,” Rivera said.

In terms of the number of classrooms, from July 2010 to December 2013, the education department has built 66,813 classrooms. Last year, 33,608 classrooms were built, and an additional 41,728 classrooms were proposed to be built this year.

Luistro in Balut

Education Secretary Armin Luistro led the opening of classes on the remote island of Balut in Davao del Sur province. He attended the flag ceremony at Mabila Central Elementary School and distributed learner’s kits, such as notebooks, pencils and bags.

Assistant Education Secretary Jesus Mateo denied that Luistro chose to attend the opening of classes outside Metro Maanila because he wanted to avoid protest actions.

“He usually goes to remote areas to see if there are problems and what solutions can be offered,” Mateo said.

As schools reopened, about a million first and second graders in the country’s public schools had reason to smile.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said it was taking over a Department of Education (DepEd) project providing oral kits to one million public schoolchildren to ensure they would brush their teeth daily.

PhilHealth president Alex Padilla said the state-run insurance firm would be allotting P32 million for the project as a preventive measure against tooth decay and other health problems that plague children.

Toothbrush and soap

Padilla said PhilHealth was adopting the DepEd program, which allots each child a pack containing a toothbrush, toothpaste with fluoride, deworming medicines and soap for hand washing. Each kit is worth P32, he said.

He said PhilHealth decided to take over the project since DepEd was having trouble bankrolling it.

Under the program, PhilHealth will pay the schools for the dental kits, which will be distributed to Grades 1 and 2 pupils.

Tooth extraction?

Asked if PhilHealth planned to include tooth extraction and dental fillings for children, Padilla said the insurance firm was wary about this.

“Once we offer this kind of benefit, it changes behavior. Our concern is that when we say we are going to fund tooth extractions, we might see a lot of children having their teeth extracted unnecessarily,” Padilla said.–With reports from Jovic Yee and Kathrina Pineda

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TAGS: Education, First Day of Classes, Philippines, PNP‎, Police, School opening
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