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Briones visits NCR schools, reports orderly school opening

June 10, 2017

MANILA, June 10, 2017 – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and other members of the DepEd executive committee personally went to Manila and Quezon City to monitor the opening of classes and ensure that schools are prepared for the return of students.
On June 5, Briones, together with Undersecretaries Jesus Mateo and Alain Del Pascua and Assistant Secretaries Tonisito Umali and Nepomuceno Malaluan, personally went to Manila to check on the thousands of students enrolled in President Corazon C. Aquino High School and Ramon Magsaysay High School.
President Corazon C. Aquino High School Principal Cipriano Lauigan attributed the improvement of school facilities to the support of the local government unit (LGU) and the DepEd Central Office (CO). Lauigan thanked Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who was present during the flag ceremony at the school, for allocating more than P26 million for the repair and rehabilitation of three school buildings, which were completed in November 2016. He also thanked the DepEd CO for the acquisition tools and equipment for Senior High School (SHS) Technical Vocational Livelihood (TVL) track, including 150 units of computer.
In his message, Estrada vowed to discuss with the principal and teachers the other provisions of the LGU for the school. He also iterated the importance of studying hard so students will grow up to be good citizens, "Wala kaming hinihingi sa inyo [mga estudyante], kundi kayo ay mag-aral nang mabuti, makinig sa klase, at sumunod sa mga sinasabi ng inyong mga teachers at principal. Sila ay nandito upang turuan kayo ng tama para paglaki ninyo ay maging mabuti kayong mamamayan.
Meanwhile, Briones highlighted the significance of partnership between the education sector and LGU to help ensure students stay in school, “Maswerte pa rin kayo [mga estudyante], dahil kayo ay ligtas at kayo ay binibigyan ng pangangailangan ninyo. Mayroon kayong school feeding program para sa mga underweight and undernourished. Mayroong mga computers na binigay sa mga teachers at tsaka mga mga school supplies [na binibigay]. Itong nangyayaring ito sa Lungsod ng Maynila ay ehemplo ng pagkakaisa at tulungan ng local government unit at ng Department of Education.”
Briones said the coordination with different partner agencies contributed to the smooth school opening and that the first day of class had so far been orderly, "Wala pang reports na may problema dahil sobra-sobra yung paghahanda para sa school opening."
Also at the President Corazon C. Aquino High School are DepEd-NCR Director Ponciano Menguito; Manila Schools Division Superintendent and Concurrent Officer-In-Charge Assistant Regional Director Wilfredo Cabral; and Assistant Schools Division Superintendents Pedro Arao and Alejandro Ibañez.
According to Menguito, all available rooms were used to make sure schools can accommodate all enrollees. Two shifts were also implemented in some schools in Metro Manila, but he assured that instructional hours for students are sufficient. 
Meanwhile, Pascua clarified that the target 18,058 classrooms for NCR was computed based on the ideal situation, where every classroom has only one shift and can fit 40 to 45 students. He emphasized that the innovation of the DepEd Division Offices and the heads of schools in Metro Manila, such as using all available rooms or having double shifts, made the shortfalls in basic education resources almost nonexistent.
Cabral said that based on the data, NCR has excess teachers, “For Manila alone, ang ating sobrang teachers ay naglalaro sa 2,000 hanggang 3,000, both filled and unfilled.”
At the Ramon Magsaysay High School, Briones and the other DepEd officials were welcomed by Principal Gene Pangilinan, teachers, and high school students who were excited to see the Education Chief for the first time.
Briones welcomed the students on the first day of class. She encouraged them to read more books to supplement what teachers teach them, “Hindi lamang sa lessons lang dapat kung hindi sa pagbabasa nang paulit-ulit to increase yung vocabulary ninyo.”
On the second day of the school opening, June 6, Briones visited the Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Elementary School. She was joined by Mateo, Pascua, and Menguito as well as by Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and City Councilor Gian Sotto with School Principal Caroline Sonquit touring them around the campus, including an ICT room with 28 students.