GENERAL SANTOS CITY, July 24, 2019 – The Department of Education (DepEd)–Region XII (SOCCSKSARGEN) shall host the national kickoff of the Oplan Kalusugan (OK) sa DepEd Program for School Year 2019-2020 today at Banisil Elementary School.

Launched in 2018, OK sa DepEd is a convergence of DepEd’s health programs, plans, policies, and activities for effective and efficient implementation at the school level, in partnership with various stakeholders.

The program initially focused on DepEd’s five major school health initiatives such as the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP), National Drug Education Program (NDEP), Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Education, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools (WinS), and Medical, Dental, and Nursing Services.

This year, the School Mental Health Program is added as the sixth flagship program focusing on the fulfillment of the Department’s mandate under Republic Act No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act.

“I enjoin our field offices and schools to help us in promoting the realization of mental health and well-being in all levels of governance,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones shared, stressing that qualified mental health professionals in all schools shall complement the Department’s initiatives.

“I have mentioned time and again that education and health go in hand-in-hand as the most significant indicators of a country’s development,” the Education chief added.

Spearheaded by the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration, through the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), this year’s OK sa DepEd shall open with a caravan and feature exhibits on the six flagship health programs, as well as exhibits from partners of DepEd Region XII. The program will also include the recognition of partners.

“Since its inaugural launch last year, OK sa DepEd has continued to embody the School Health interventions of the Department, and it is encouraging to see more and more partners join us,” Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua stated.

Meanwhile, the Department also enjoins its regional and division offices and schools to observe the One Health Week as part of the OK sa DepEd from July 22 to 26. Activities shall include orientation with parents, communities, partners, and stakeholders; delivery of age-appropriate health services and practices; conduct of feeding and school gardening activities; exhibits/fora on the six health programs; and open house of canteens featuring healthy food and beverage choices.

“OK sa DepEd brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of producing the holistically developed Filipinos that we envision our learners to be,” the Education chief concluded.