National Brigada Eskwela Awards celebrate stakeholder support to education

December 22, 2017

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, December 22, 2017 – In recognition of the public schools’ outstanding accomplishments in mobilizing the community, and in celebration of the stakeholders’ unwavering support in making classrooms and facilities ready for school opening, the Department of Education (DepEd) conducted the National Brigada Eskwela Awards on December 15 at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum in Palawan.
 
Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones expressed her gratitude to DepEd’s partners and stakeholders for the massive outpouring of love and sympathy for the public schools: “This is also a great occasion, because we recognize the regions, the performers, and the contributors who have made Brigada Eskwela such a great success.”
 
A total of 136 elementary and secondary schools were recognized as the best Brigada Eskwela implementers from the 17 regions of the country under the small, medium, large and mega categories. Eighteen schools which have sustained their achievements for three consecutive years received distinction as Hall of Famers during the awarding ceremonies led by Briones.
 
Special awards were also granted to the Division of Zamboanga-Sibugay for being the most innovative implementer, as well as to Region IX for obtaining the highest percentage of increase in resources generated, and to Region IV-B for the highest percentage of increase in volunteer turn-out. Five regional and 17 division Brigada Eskwela coordinators were further bestowed with leadership award.
 
Celebrating gains, bracing for challenges
Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and School Sports Tonisito Umali delivered the national accomplishment report for this year’s Brigada Eskwela. The highlight of which was the P5.7 billion worth of resources generated, including infrastructure repairs and maintenance, in-kind donations, and volunteer man-hours. Almost 12 million volunteers were also mobilized during the schools maintenance week.
 
“Ito po ay pwede nating sabihing isang napakahalagang programa ng ating pamahalaan, ng ating kagawaran, na kung saan tayo po ay nagsasama-sama,  nagtutulong-tulong at ipinapakita natin na lahat tayo ay may pakialam pagdating sa pagbibigay ng dekalidad na basic education sa ating bansa,” Umali shared.
 
Meanwhile, Briones pointed out that while stakeholder support continues to increase dramatically, “there has also been a dramatic increase in the number of challenges, the number of crises that we are now facing as a country, and as a people.”
 
She cited the case of Marawi City wherein 22 schools were totally destroyed, and 40 schools are in need of major repairs due to the recent armed conflict. She also mentioned the onslaught of natural disasters, as well as the political, economic, and social challenges which call for an active role of the Department. Finally, she underscored the need to be at the forefront of research and teaching in new ways.
“But in the meantime, let us celebrate. Let us celebrate the achievements of Brigada Eskwela which are rising higher and higher. Let us celebrate the support of all our stakeholders – the local government units, the parent-teacher associations, private sector, church-based organizations, and all who care for education,” Secretary Briones enthused.
 
One DepEd, one country for Filipino learners
The Education chief further emphasized how Brigada Eskwela exemplifies unity and camaraderie as the entire Department came as one: “Institutionalizing the process, institutionalizing the practice has made it much more meaningful, and has contributed very much to the concept that we always have which is One DepEd, One Country.”
 
It was also reiterated that the ultimate goal of the Department’s massive social mobilization effort is the betterment of the learning conditions of the Filipino learners.
 
“We must always remember that we are doing this for our children, for the future of our children – for a safe, and happy, and smiling future for our children,” Briones concluded.
 
Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Lorna Dig-Dino further pointed this out when she delivered an inspirational message, and appealed for everyone’s commitment in taking good care of every child in the classroom: “At the end of the day, we should all say, Ang Brigada ay para sa lahat ng bata, so that no child is left behind.”
 
The celebration was capped off by a performance of the winning Brigada Eskwela jingle anchored on this year’s theme, “Isang DepEd, Isang Pamayanan, Isang Bayanihan Para sa Handa at Ligtas na Paaralan” by students of Looc National High School, Misamis Occidental. 
 
Director for External Partnerships Service (EPS) Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros thanked everyone – schools and stakeholders alike – for their unwavering support to Brigada Eskwela, and the education sector.
 
END