THE Department of Education is planning a year-round insurance for all 27 million school children.
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones also called on civil society organizations, local government units, national government institutions, and the rest of the community to be more vigilant in protecting children because they are the first victims of accidents and abuse.
She made the appeal after visiting the wake of five students (one Grade 7 and four Grade 11) of Basay National High School who died in a vehicular accident morning of March 1 in Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental.
“It's really such a great loss. We did not lose only the lives of children; we lost so much promise, so much ambition, and so much hope,” Briones stated during a press conference held at the DepEd Regional Sub-Office in Dumaguete City. “And this is a result, perhaps, of lack of vigilance on the part of us -- us who are grown-ups, us who are responsible for these children.”
The DepEd is planning an insurance scheme because each time groups of children go out of the periphery of our campus, participate in competitions, and travel to other they have to be covered by insurance so that if there is a need for benefits and for assistance, these can be available,” Briones mentioned.
She also made a call to regulatory agencies to “keep a sharper eye” and to conduct more robust assessment and monitoring of vehicles, especially the public utility vehicles like the one carrying the victims of the March 1 accident.
She further cited how they have to look into the state of mind of the drivers and the vehicles, as well as the legality of the franchises.
Further, Briones mentioned the need for a quick response fund, especially because the provision of financial assistance for these types of incidents is not included in the DepEd budget. This shall be brought up, they said, in the next budget proposal.
The group of students from Basay National High School were on their way home to Bayawan following a Mathematics competition in Cebu where they won in the elimination round. Dubbed as “Math Sayaw,” the contest is both academic and co-curricular, as the participants use music and arts to make the subject more interesting.