DepEd reports smooth opening of classes, ongoing interventions for Marawi learners and teachers

June 17, 2017

PASIG CITY, June 19, 2017 – Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones emphasized the importance of providing quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all learners nationwide, wherever they are and whatever situation they may be in.
Briones, together with Undersecretary Jesus Mateo, Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat, and DepEd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) ASec. Marjuni Maddi, reported the smooth opening of classes for School Year (SY) 2017-2018, and further provided vital information on the situation of displaced Marawi learners and teachers during a press conference held on June 16, 2017 at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office in Pasig City.
Furthermore, Mateo reported that up to date, there are 18,526,583 enrollees from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in public schools nationwide—not including the ARMM enrollment data. The figure is still expected to increase, as the enrollment in schools is still ongoing.
Also, Mateo reported that based on latest data, there are 7,487 recorded displaced Marawi learners already enrolled in other regions. Considering that the Region 10 is the nearest safe location from Marawi, up to date, it has the most number of transferees from the city with 6,484 learners.
“Missing” Marawi teachers
The DepEd officials also shed light on the issue of 700 “missing” Marawi teachers.
"Just like the learners and other citizens of Marawi, teachers also fled and sought refuge in other safe locations away from the ongoing armed conflict in their area. But that does not mean that they are missing or taken as hostages,” Briones clarified.
Maddi explained that this arose when the DepEd Marawi City Division was misquoted on its report that some Marawi teachers were unable to attend a meeting they organized.
"Hindi po sila missing, they were just not able to attend the meeting. Understandably because apektado sila. Malay natin yung iba dun ay naghahanap pa ng masisilungan o makakain. Mas importanteng unahin nila yun kaysa magpakita doon sa meeting," Maddi pointed out.
Briones also clarified and emphasized the need to refrain from using the word "missing" when disseminating information regarding the teachers, "’Absent’ when called to report but hindi natin sasabihing 'missing' because it implies kidnapping, or they are killed. That's not the correct word to use."
Briones further noted that the DepEd ARMM has already tracked around 1,000 displaced Marawi teachers—the majority of them are in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro—and is continuing to trace them to be able to provide the necessary intervention and assistance they need to cope with this situation.
Psychosocial interventions
Maddi reported that the DepEd ARMM has already started conducting trainings for some teachers that will help and assist in the psychosocial intervention to be given to displaced Marawi learners and personnel to help them re-establish a sense of normalcy after the armed conflict in Marawi.
"Affected learners and teachers shall undergo psychosocial sessions. . . We need to guarantee that when learners and teachers return to school, they are personally, psychologically, and emotionally ready," Maddi stated.
Reopening of Brigada Eskwela
Furthermore, Maddi and Briones mentioned the possibility of reopening the Brigada Eskwela in schools in Marawi and other affected areas, once the situation has been cleared, considering the damages wrought by the ongoing battle in the city.
Briones further emphasized the importance of collective efforts of the community and of media in battling this kind of situation, "This is an example of facing a crisis, as you may call it, as a country and not as different people."