DepEd reactivates Oplan Balik Eskwela

MANILAThe Department of Education (DepEd) reactivated on Monday its National Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) to engage education partners and stakeholders in preparation for the opening of classes on June 4.

"The conduct of OBE will ensure that learners are properly enrolled and able to attend school on the first day of classes. We are also working closely with our partner agencies to ensure the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant and liberating basic education," Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones in a press briefing said.

Manila Electric Company (Meralco) Networks Representative Engineer Martin Co said they have been visiting and inspecting schools in the past years to ensure they are safe come opening of classes.

"We do routine check to their compliance, assessment of schools' electrical connections at kasama ang trimming ng mga puno (and this includes trimming of trees) and replacement of damaged outlets and switches. Starting this week, Meralco will revisit schools which we prioritize depending on our standards...Then, discuss the result of assessment and corrective actions to the schools' principals," he said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Public Safety Division Police Senior Supt. Rudolph Dimas said their deparment will deploy 5,644 PNP personnel in different schools in the National Capital Region as part of their security preparation.

"There will be patrollers, road safety marshalls and nationwide we will be deploying 28,427 marshalls in all schools during the opening of classes in June 4...providing security, traffic assistance and other public safety services in coordination with local government units and DepEd," Dimas said.

Through Oplan Bisita Eskwela, he said that the police establishes partnership with the academe, students, youth sector and the community with regard to anti-bullying and anti-illegal drugs campaigns.

"Besides visiting schools, we'll be conducting brief lectures on violence and other anti-criminality concerns," he said.

In her report, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Director Lilian Salonga said that they have intensified the weekly monitoring of school supplies' prices starting May until the end of July.

"Generally, the prices of school supplies are stable except for the prices of paper particularly notebooks and pad papers. Buyers of school supplies can now download ePresyo app into their mobile phones so they can be informed about the suggested retail prices," she said.

"DTI is conducting price monitoring also in Divisoria retail outlets other than usal supermarkets and school supplies retailers in the unoversity belt by the end of May," Salonga added.

Health department representative Belinda Evangelista said their agency will emphasize on the implementation of clean environment, proper waste segregation, proper handwashing, availability of potable water and information campaign on emergencies or disasters during calamities in connection with the opening of classes.

During the press briefing, state-run weather bureau, Pagasa, Chief Dra. Esperanza Cayanan provided a six-month weather forecast which may affect the suspension of classes for the coming school year.

Esperanza said warm weather during the morning and thunder storms and sudden flashfloods can be expected for the months of May and June.

"Tag-ulan po tayo ng July pero may habagat kaya magiging mas maulan sa (July is rainy season but we'll have southwest monsoons so there'll be more rain in the) Western Luzon, for August to October, we will have normal amount of expected rain. There will be 10 to 13 typhoons from May to October but most number of typhoons will happen in July," she said.

Meanwhile, Director Rosalie Dagulo of the Department of Social Works and Development Community Programs and Services Bureau said their department conducts programs that address the developmental needs of two to four-year-old children "because they should be in the child development centers as stated by the law."

"We do the supplemental feeding program. In fact, we have reached out to 1,748,946 kids as of February 2018, hinahanda sila maging malusog para sa kanilang pagaaral (we're preparing them to be healthy for their schooling). We also have supervised neighborhood play where they learn friendship and other social skills in preparation proper education," she said.

For his part, Department of Interior and Local Government Jonathan Malaya encouraged local government officials and past election candidates to remove campaign paraphernalias in schools that were used as polling precincts to ensure that students will have clean schools next month.

"We ask the local government unit chiefs to convene their respective peace and order councils... to convene the local health boards to assist DOH to ensure that all road networks to schools are clean and with appropriate signages," Malaya said.

"We also encourage the passing of necessary ordinances such anti-truancy ordinance to regulate the uniformed students in malls, internet cafes and other regulation centers especially during school hours. I think Quezon City and Manila have passed this ordinance but we still need to intesify the implementation of these ordinances," he added.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority representative Geoffrey Agulan said they have already instructed their different units since last month to perform all their respective tasks in line with the opening of classes.

"For traffic, we will assure a smooth flow of traffic, clearing and maintenance of sidewalk-free obstructions in front of schools...we have already instructed the Metrobase to monitor and track events in a 24-hour basis on the first succeeding school days," he said.

"The head of Metrobase must ensure that all monitoring cameras are working so that the authorities and the public will be informed of the ocurrences during the start of classes. The Agila, mobile-based monitoring, will be on standby in different areas in Manila," he added.

For her part, Department of Energy (DOE) representative Genevieve Fronda assured that "DOE will sufficient power supply to support all the activities in relation to the opening of classes." (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency