AFP, PNP all set for school opening

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) enjoined all its units to be involved in the nationwide “Brigada Eskwela” from May 20 to 25 while the Philippine National Police is now preparing  to secure the students,  teachers and parents during the opening of regular classes on June 3.

AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO) Colonel Noel Detoyato said Brigada Eskwela is a national schools maintenance week spearheaded by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Detoyato said it aims to bring together stakeholders to help prepare public school facilities in time for the school opening in June.

During the week, military personnel will assist the DepEd personnel and other volunteers in painting, repairing, cleaning, and sanitizing school facilities and classrooms nationwide for the students to have a clean and safe learning environment.

The AFP’s participation will be properly coordinated with the school principal or administrator.

Aside from active soldier, Detoyato said personnel from the General Headquarters, Joint Task Force National Capital Region, Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy will be deployed to assist in areas within Metro Manila.

The Unified Commands also encourage units under their control to participate in the week-long activity.

They are tasked to prioritize public schools in geographically-isolated and depressed areas.

He said security personnel will also be available to ensure the safety and security for each deployment. Soldiers who are armed will only be in proximity and not inside of the school.

Brigada Eskwela also enjoins parents, teachers, students, civic and business groups, local government units, non-government units, and other community residents to particiopate in the activity.

They also encouraged participants to donate construction and cleaning materials or serve as volunteers for the week-long activity.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said: “After the 2019 Midterm Elections, the Philippine National Police is now focusing on the whole-of-the-system approach to layout a nationwide security and public safety plan for the opening of classes on June 3.”

Albayalde said he has already issued the Operational Guidelines for Ligtas Balik-Eskwela 2019 directing all 17 Police Regional Offices and National Support Units to perform specific tasks and coordinating instructions to implement the nationwide security and public safety plan.  

He said that they will initially deploy 120,000 policemen during the school opening nationwide.

The guidelines will also ensure the availability and operational readiness of PNP units, personnel and resources for security and public safety operations in support of the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education, he added.

At least 29 million students  in various grade levels are expected to troop to their schools during the simultaneous opening of classes in both public and private learning institutions.

“In our security and operational thrusts, our guidelines for this year’s Ligtas Balik-Eskwela ensures the operational readiness of police units in responding to peace and order concerns including threats from criminal elements that may take advantage of the situation,” Albayalde said.

All PNP regional directors have been given the discretionary authority to maintain full alert conditions as they deem necessary to effectively implement their respective security and public safety plans.

During the period, police patrols in the vicinity of schools will be on the look-out for drug traffickers, muggers, and violent street gangs that may infiltrate the ranks of students.

Albayalde added that all local PNP units have been instructed to coordinate closely with school administrators and officials of the DepEd and CHEd to implement safety and security measures in campuses.

Police in Metro Manila are also coordinating with different local government units, the Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority their move to assume traffic management operations in the vicinity of schools particularly in the University Belt area of Manila during the school opening.

Albayalde said similar security measures will be implemented in seaports, airports, and land transport terminals in anticipation of the heavy volume of incoming passengers from the provinces, mostly students returning from the summer vacation.

With Zaida delos Reyes