PASIG CITY, June 7, 2017 – A number of public schools in and outside Mindanao have begun accommodating learners displaced from Marawi City on the first day of classes despite facing respective challenges, proving that education knows no boundaries and limitations in ensuring that learners are provided with a place where they can feel safe and in encouraging a sense of normalcy amid the violence that disrupted their lives.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa Region 10 at sa mga karatig probinsya ng Marawi, even before we came in, meron na po silang action na ginawa kaagad para maka-reach out sa mga learners, sa mga teachers. . . Gaya ng sinasabi ni Secretary, wala po tayong ide-deprive ng education whatever their religion, whatever their belief, kung kanino man silang anak lahat po ng bata ay tatanggapin natin sa ating eskwelahan,” Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Service (PAS) and Alternative Learning System (ALS) G.H. Ambat stated during a press conference with Malaybalay City Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Edilberto Oplenario on June 5.
As of 6 p.m. of June 6, partial reports from the field gathered by the Department of Education (DepEd), through the Office of the Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations, show that 2,428 displaced learners from Marawi have been already enrolled in eight regions:
|Region/Division||Partial Count of Enrolment|
|Cagayan de Oro||592|
|El Salvador City||3|
|Lanao del Norte||778|
|General Santos City||19|
Division of Cagayan de Oro
One of the DepEd divisions visited by Ambat for the opening of classes was the Division Office of Cagayan de Oro City, a medium-sized division with about 93,000 elementary, 33,500 Junior High School (JHS), and 4,000 Senior High School (SHS) students. According to Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Elena Borcillo, they already expected an increase in the number due to the arrival of learners seeking refuge from the armed conflict.
In the two-year-old East Gusa National High School, five siblings from Marawi City have enrolled in Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 – adding to its current student population of about 1,200. Its strong partnership with the local government unit (LGU) resulted in the LGU’s donation of the school’s current lot to East Gusa and the construction of all its 49 classrooms, including a two-story building currently underway.
Reeling from the devastation brought by typhoon “Sendong” in 2011 and the truckloads of mud left by the flooding in Misamis Oriental last January, Puerto Elementary School still opened its doors to learners from Marawi City. With a student population of 1,849 – including 16 Special Education (SPED) learners – Puerto has put in place emergency protocols and is working closely with the LGU to innovate and provide better learning environment for its students.
Division of Malaybalay
As of 12 noon of June 5, Bukidnon National High School welcomed 14 learners from Marawi. As one of the model schools that first implemented the SHS Program, Bukidnon NHS fought for the establishment of a standalone SHS school to be able to accommodate more students. Its latest number of enrollees has reached more than 7,000, with learners not just from Malaybalay but from Maramag, Valencia, Kalilangan, Kabanglasan, Igpasugbong, and now, Marawi.
“Meron instruction from Secretary [Leonor Magtolis] Briones na special treatment ang mga students from Marawi, kailangan natin sila tanggapin sa ating mga school, dapat intindihin natin ang kanilang sitwasyon, ang iba ay suot na damit lang ang dala,” SDS Oplenario pointed out.
The Education Secretary noted during a press briefing at Malacañang on June 6 that around 22,000 students and 2,205 teachers are among those who had to flee their homes because of the ongoing armed conflict between the military and lawless elements in Marawi City.