THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority joined the “Brigada Eskwela” Program of the Department of Education (DepEd) and helped prepare classrooms and other facilities in public schools for the opening of classes in June.
MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said 400 members of the Metro Parkways Clearing Group (MPCG) were deployed to 20 public schools in Metro Manila and actively participated in the “Balik Eskwela” program.
“The spirit of bayanihan is very much alive in this activity. Our personnel are more than ready to extend assistance to public schools that requested our assistance for a safe, clean and conducive learning environment for the incoming students,” said Lim.
Francis Martinez, MPCG Chief, said a minimum of 15 personnel are assigned to each public school that asked their assistance.
MPCG workers will engage in cleaning up school grounds; doing carpentry works; repairing and repainting of walls, ceilings, corridors, and other fixtures; trimming of trees; providing plants; removing dried leaves from clogged drains; and repainting of pedestrian lane markings, depending on the request of the school authorities, said Martinez.
Some of the schools to be spruced up by MMDA are Palanan Elementary School and Bangkal High School in Makati City; Panghulo National High School and Concepcion Technical Vocational School in Malabon City; Timoteo Paez Elementary School and Pasay City National High School in Pasay City; Juan Luna Elementary School and Antonio Maceda Integrated School in Manila City; Sto. Cristo Elementary School and Holy Spirit National High School Annex in Quezon City.
The Brigada Eskwela is a week-long annual schools maintenance program of DepEd that aims to bring together teachers, parents, community members and stakeholders to do clean-up and maintenance works in public elementary and secondary schools.
Brigada Eskwela caravan
The Department of Education-National Capital Region yesterday held a caravan to signal the start of the Brigada Eskwela activity.
Dubbed “Matatag na Bayan para sa Maunlad na Paaralan”, the caravan highlighted the strong partnership of the community in providing the needed support for the schools and its learners.
The implementation of Brigada Eskwela shall focus on school maintenance activities throughout the school year; school and community effort to improve participation and reduce dropout rate, or to enroll in the alternative delivery mode; and school community effort to improve student and community learning. Taking part in the school repair and other maintenance work is not mandatory or a requisite for parents to enable their children to be accommodated in the school.
Use toxic-free paints
The environment-advocate group EcoWaste Coalition reminded the participating schools in the annual Brigada Eskwela to be mindful of the government’s environmental and health policies aimed at promoting a conducive learning environment for children.
The group through its chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon made the appeal during the launching of the bayanihan-inspired Brigada Eskwela at the Balingasa Elementary School in Quezon City.
Department Order No. 4 requires the “mandatory use of lead safe paints in schools,” while Department Order No. 64 specifies the minimum performance standards and specifications for DepEd school buildings, including “paint materials must be independently certified lead safe paints/coatings.”
There is no known safe level of lead exposure. Even low levels of lead exposure may cause lifetime health issues such as learning disabilities, impaired language skills, reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and behavioral problems. Health risks to children, pregnant women and workers can be prevented by making and using lead safe paints, according to health experts.
“We urge Brigada Eskwela participants to be on the guard against improper disposal of waste resulting from the weeklong cleanup activities. Please refrain from mixing discards and from dumping and burning them as these are against DepEd’s policy and R.A. 9003,” Dizon said.
With Arlene Rivera and Cory Martinez