By Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY, May 17 (PNA) — A caravan to take off from this city and drive through Sorsogon province will kick off on Monday the Department of Education’s yearly Brigada Eskwela or the National Schools Maintenance Week in Bicol.
Ramon Fiel Abcede, the DepEd regional director, said on Saturday the caravan will be participated in, among others, by regional and national education officials, public school teachers and local government officials in a show of concern to the upkeep of public school facilities.
The theme for this year’s Brigada Eskwela is “Tayo para sa Kalinisan, Kaligtasan at Kahandaan ng Ating mga Paaralan,” which is geared towards making schools disaster-prepared, ecologically conscious, clean and conducive to learning.
From the DepEd regional office complex in Barangay Rawis here, Abcede said the caravan with regional and central personnel and officials on board will head for Pilar II Central School in Barangay Putiao, Pilar, Sorsogon, the host of this year’s kick-off ceremonies.
This school has been chosen as host for being a showcase institution for a successful stakeholder partnership with an international non-government organization (NGO) — particularly the Intervida Philippines Foundation now under the EduCo International Group, which will be given recognition during the event.
Intervida is an international development NGO that worked towards improving the human development of disadvantaged communities, especially the children in Bicol, through active participation, community empowerment and advocacy to achieve social change.
The holistic approach of Intervida is carried out through the implementation of programs in health and nutrition, education, food security, economic development, environment and disaster Management, and community participation.
Apart from EduCo, other stakeholders and sponsors will be given recognition during the kick-off rites to be graced by DepEd Central Office officials such as Zeny Lastimoza and Ronald Asis of the Adopt-A-School Program (ASP) and Education Support Services Division (ESSD), respectively.
On the next day, the caravan, joined by delegations from Pilar and Donsol towns, will head deeper into the province with delegations from the next town of Castilla joining from the Cumadcad National High School as it heads for the DepEd Sorsogon Division Office (DO) in Sorsogon City where more key officials are expected to join.
Delegations from the towns of Magallanes, Juban and Casiguran will converge at Barangay Abuyog in Sorsogon City to merge with the convoy from the DO in proceeding to the second district of the province where it will be joined by participants from the municipalities of Prieto Diaz and Gubat.
The convoy will pass through Barcelona with the town’s delegation merging as it heads for the Central School in Bulusan where a brief stopover is set for the ceremonial painting of the school’s concrete perimeter fence.
The next route will be through the 10-kilometer winding concrete road passing along the thickly vegetated area covered by the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park leading to the Bulusan Lake Ecology Park where delegations in motorcades from Irosin, Matnog, Sta. Magdalena and Bulan towns are to merge with the main caravan.
From there, it will travel another 10 kilometers to the Irosin town that sits at the foot of the active Mt. Bulusan.
The volcano was placed by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) under alert level No. 1 early this week following two mild eruptions last May 1 and 6.
The caravan, with the converging motorcades from all of the province’s 14 towns and one city in tow, will end at the Irosin Central School where the provincial kick-off ceremonies of the Brigada Eskwela will take place.
The motorcades themed “Convergence Down the Road for Brigada Eskwela 2015” is organized by the DepEd Sorsogon DO headed by schools division superintendent Danilo Despi.
“We expect not only all DepEd employees in the region to join this year’s Brigada Eskwela activities but also other sectors like local communities, concerned government and non-government agencies and private entities by offering special skills, sharing their time or by providing their in-kind support to public schools near their residence,” Abcede said.
This schools maintenance activity, which is an exercise of the spirit of volunteerism and has become a week-long tradition, engages all education stakeholders to contribute their time, effort, and resources in ensuring that all public schools are ready in time for the schools’ opening every month of June, he explained.
The school year 2015-2016 will officially start on June 1 and end on April 1, 2016 for public schools based on Department Order 9, s. 2015 earlier issued by Education Secretary Armin Luistro which directs the heads of public and private elementary and secondary institutions nationwide to follow the school calendar. (PNA)