Days before the opening of the school year, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) enjoins local chief executives (LCEs) to help the Department of Education (DepEd) in ensuring that “the start of the school year is in order” in line with its Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) campaign.
“Local execs are expected to work closely with DepEd to ensure that the school opening is as smooth and orderly as possible so that both students and teachers will be inspired to embark on this new learning journey,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
To ensure the safety of students going to and from their schools, Año urges LCEs to deploy their local police and barangay force multipliers to be stationed near the school gates and along roads leading to schools.
"Dapat maging mapagbantay ang kapulisan at mga barangay tanod para bantayan at protektahan ang mga istudyante laban sa mga kriminal at mga mapagsamantala,” he says.
OBE, which runs from May 27 - June 7, 2019, is DepEd’s annual initiative to engage agencies, organizations and other stakeholders in preparation for the coming of the school year. It aims to address problems, queries, and other concerns commonly encountered by the public at the start of the school year and ensure that learners are properly enrolled and able to attend school on the first day of classes on June 3, 2019.
Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2019 - 78, the DILG Secretary also encourages LCEs to convene their Peace and Order Councils (POC), Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC), and Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (LDRRMC) in preparation for the opening of the classes.
"Bukod sa kaalaman na kanilang makukuha, pinakamahalaga pa din ang kaligtasan ng mga mag-aaral kaya naman ang pakikipagtulungan ng POC, LCPC, at LDRRMC sa pangunguna ng mga LCE ay lubhang napakahalaga," Año explains.
LCEs are also urged to assist in providing information and quick response, mobilize barangays to clean/mark signage road networks leading to schools, and assist DepEd in preparing school facilities.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) ensured police presence and security patrols in schools and transportation hubs; deployment of road safety marshals; and information drive through quad media and distribution of safety tips and anti-criminality leaflets.
"The PNP is prepared to assist OBE. We will be establishing Police Assistance Desks in school campuses in coordination with concerned school authorities, Parents-Teachers Association, and security force managers, LGUs and respective barangay force multiplier, among others," says PNP Spokesperson Police Colonel Bernard Banac.
The PNP will also organize Non-Government Organizations and Civilian Volunteer Organizations to assist in providing security, traffic assistance, and other public safety services in coordination with DepEd and the LGU.
Coordination with school authorities and other agencies for the installation of CCTVs in strategic locations is also a priority of the PNP.