DepEd Chief calls for continuity of education in ‘Vinta’-hit schools

January 8, 2018

LANAO DEL NORTE, January 8, 2018 – True to her rallying cry that education must continue despite adversities, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones personally visited and inspected the schools ravaged by Typhoon “Vinta” in Lanao del Norte on January 5.
The severe tropical storm, which made landfall over southern Philippines on December 22, 2017, triggered flashfloods in Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Lanao del Norte wherein three out of the 32 schools affected were severely damaged to date.
The Education chief, together with Undersecretary Alain Del B. Pascua and Assistant Secretary Revsee A. Escobedo, inspected Padianan Elementary School, Don Juan Diaz Memorial Elementary School, Maranding Annex Elementary School, Lala National High School, and Maranding Central Elementary School, and surveyed damaged furniture, equipment, textbooks, and learning materials.
In the press conference following the school visits,Pascua mentioned that area and regional engineers have been tasked to inspect and monitor schools especially in the municipalities of Maigo, Balo-i, and Munai where there are reported structural damages. The monetary worth of the total damages will further be assessed and validated.
The Undersecretary also assured everyone: “We will make sure that all the damaged structures that need to be replaced, including the replacement of old school buildings, will be included in the 2018 budget.”
In her message, Briones stressed that education must continue whether there is armed conflict, flood, or earthquake. “All of these is for the children. And we should always guarantee that whatever happens, whether we have a natural disaster, or whatever disaster, that education will always continue. We have to assure the children that they can look forward to a normal life,” she relayed.
“And the only, the best way to be able to bring them back to a sense of normalcy is to see to it that their education continues,” Briones added.
Nationwide Brigada Eskwela
Briones also emphasized how Brigada Eskwela and the concept of bayanihan in rebuilding and rehabilitating schools which used to be done during the summer vacation, have become national and year-round in scope.
“Once a year lang ang Brigada Eskwela, but now that we have seen all these disasters, and all this need for help and cooperation, we’re making it national. In the case of Lanao, the entire Region X is being mobilized, as well as our external partners,” the Secretary emphasized.
She also relayed how the twinning and pairing system, which has been implemented in Marawi, and is being carried out in Biliran, works when it comes to responding to disasters: “Each Division Superintendent will adopt a particular school which they will help, because what is happening to Lanao can easily happen to them also, because we do not know where the next storm will rise.”
The special Brigada Eskwela in Lanao del Norte schools is spearheaded by DepEd Region X, led by Director Allan G. Farnazo, to ensure the resumption of classes, and restore normalcy among learners’ lives the soonest. Briones also acknowledged the support of the local government officials who were present during the event, including Congressman Abdullah D. Dimaporo, Governor Imelda Q. Dimaporo, and Vice Governor Cristy N. Atay, as well as the municipal mayors.
Accepting, adapting, and responding to change
In light of the recent disasters, the Secretary of Education also underscored the importance of teaching children not only to memorize facts and formulae, but to accept, live with, and be responsive to change. And this, she stressed, is primarily the responsibility of teachers, administrators, and parents.
“Our focus shall really be on problem-solving,” she pointed out. “It’s really relating theories and facts to what is happening in the world, what is happening to Lala, what we could do about it, what is happening to our school, and what we could do about it.”
Briones concluded that at the end of the day, preparedness is most important. She reminded the citizens of Lanao del Norte not to be complacent that the flood will not return.
“It’s really preparedness. So we have to prepare our children for climate change, to know that it is here, that it will come at anytime.”