July 8, 2020 — Various partner organizations of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday have expressed support and laid out their plans for this year’s Brigada Eskwela (BE) and Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE).

In light of the COVID-19 situation, this year’s Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela will be reconfigured to fully assist the preparations for the new normal in education. The programs will encourage engagements with the academic community to ensure that the learning delivery modalities will be implemented effectively.

At least 20 national government agencies and private partners pledged their support and presented their initiatives in preparation for School Year 2020-2021 during the Handang Isip, Handa Bukas Online Press Conference.

“If you have more than 20 well-established expert institutions who are willing not only to give technical or professional advice, but to donate or give out material resources to the efforts of the Department, that is very very touching at this particular time, and we are truly grateful,” said Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.

These partner agencies include the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

“Malaki ang tungkulin ng mga barangay sa pagtulong sa ating public school system. Makaka-asa ang Kagawaran ng Edukasyon ng 100% support mula sa DILG sa pagbubukas ng ating pasukan this 2020,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

(Barangays have a great duty in helping our public school system. The Department of Education can trust that DILG will provide 100% support for the opening of classes this 2020.)

Other partners are Smart Communications Inc., Globe Telecom Inc., Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Office of Civil Defense-National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council (OCD-NDRRMC), National Telecommunications Company (NTC), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and World Vision Philippines.

DepEd’s partners have offered support through various initiatives such as helping schools distribute and collect learning modules, creating platforms for learning and upskilling, protecting children in the virtual world, and providing different channels for distance learning.

The Department is hopeful that with the continuous support of these agencies and the academic community, all necessary preparations and programs will be in place for the opening of classes come August 24.

“Thank you for the support. Thank you for holding our hands. Thank you for saying, in so many words, all of you who are here, that you trust us. We believe that we can deliver. Thank you for believing along with us,” said Secretary Briones.

BE and OBE 2020, which started on June 1 and will run until August 29, have been highlighting partnership initiatives that complement the Department’s efforts for ensuring that quality education will continue despite the challenges of the pandemic.

The OBE Public Assistance Command Center (OBE-PACC), present in the central, regional, and division offices, is also in place to answer queries on DepEd policies and programs, particularly those relevant to the preparations and opening of classes.