March 08, 2022 – The Department of Education (DepEd) unveiled its first-ever completed Last Mile School in Eastern Visayas during a turnover ceremony in Calbiga, Samar last February 23, 2022.
“This is only the first step to the many developments under the Public Schools of the Future framework. We will continue to close the gap between the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas to their urban center counterparts in providing unhampered and equal access to education,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.
Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua stressed that funding must be allocated to Last Mile Schools like Patong National High School (PNHS), which has classrooms and roofs made of sala-sala, bamboo, sawali, nipa, and pan-aw, and have unpaved flooring.
“Hindi lang tayo nagtatayo ng building kundi kinukompleto rin natin ang package. Itatayo natin ang building, lalagyan natin ng laman tulad ng furniture, sistema para sa solar power at tubig. Ito ang essential elements of a last mile school,” Undersecretary Pascua said.
PNHS School Head Apolonio Nacario mentioned the program’s important contribution, especially to those who belong to low-income families.
“Hindi na mahihirapan ang mga pamilya sa paggastos ng malaki para sa pamasahe ng kanilang anak papunta ng bayan. Ito rin kasi ay nasa sentro ng limang paaralan ng elementarya,” Nacario noted.
Meanwhile, Bonga National High School (BNHS) Principal Wilma Montejo shared the status of the undergoing construction of one concrete school building with four classrooms to replace their six makeshift classrooms.
“Gawa na halos lahat. Kinakailangan na lang ay ang system na makakapag-generate ng kuryente mula sa solar power at ang pasilidad sa paghuhugas ng kamay. By March. sana ay matapos ito para makapag-open na kami ng face-to-face classes,” Montejo said.
DepEd field officers’ latest assessments revealed that the figure has risen to 9,225, which is currently equivalent to 19.4% of all public schools.
“’Yan ang dapat bigyan natin ng focus kung paano natin gagawing kasing ganda ang mga last mile schools na narito ng mga eskuwelahan sa siyudad. Hopefully, the next administration will continue ang ganito klase ng priority,” Usec. Pascua said.
Led by Usec. Pascua, the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration visited Samar and Leyte from February 23 to 25 to assess the completeness of newly-constructed and restored buildings, including those undergoing construction.