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DepEd kicks off schools cleanup

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 05:21 AM May 24, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Wielding walis tingting (stick brooms), hammers and paint rollers, up to 300 volunteers had an early start on Monday as the Department of Education (DepEd) kicked off “Brigada Eskwela” to mark school cleanup week in Quezon City.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista led the start of the cleanup at Bago Bantay Elementary School in Quezon City at 7 a.m. Monday, bringing with them a convoy of some 170 vehicles carrying the volunteers from both the government and private sectors. They also donated repair and construction materials.

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The nationwide cleanup will continue until May 28, or roughly a week before classes open on June 6. Twenty-two million students are expected to troop to 45,000 public elementary and high schools nationwide.

New form of people power

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“One important feature of Brigada Eskwela is that we have ordinary people, civil society and nongovernment organizations helping us fulfill our responsibilities to prepare for the school opening,” Luistro told the volunteers in a short kick-off program.
“Brigada Eskwela is a new form of people power. All sectors wholeheartedly got involved,” he said of the annual drive which started in 2003.

Brigada’s convoy of cars, vans, pickups and trucks decorated with balloons, bunting and streamers parted traffic on Edsa’s northbound side at rush hour Monday.

Upon arriving at the school, soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines National Capital Region Command, volunteers from DepEd’s corporate partners, barangay and local government officials, parents, students and participants from international aid organizations got right down to work.

Australian Agency for International Development Minister Counselor Titon Mitra joined the effort. Luistro said AusAid would sponsor cleanup and repairs in schools in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Short of ideal ratio

The United States Agency for International Development selected three schools to refurbish, DepEd said.

DepEd figures showed that the public schools were roughly 66,000 classrooms short of reaching the ideal ratio of one classroom for every 45 students.

Since Luistro assumed office, the DepEd has built some 3,000 classrooms and repaired 5,700 more, according to agency.

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TAGS: Children, Department of Education (DepEd), Foreign aid, school cleanup, Sec. Armin Luistro, Volunteerism
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