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PBBM leads nationwide ‘Brigada Eskwela’ at V. Mapa High School in Manila

With a paintbrush in hand, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice-President Sara Z. Duterte happily give some armchairs a fresh coat of paint as the country’s top two leaders volunteered their time and support during the launch of the nationwide “Brigada Eskwela” or School Maintenance Week held at the Victorino Mapa High School in the City of Manila on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. (RTVM)

QUEZON CITY, (PIA) -- In a show of support for the country's public education system, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led the nationwide, annual “Brigada Eskwela” (BE) initiative at the Victorino Mapa High School in the City of Manila on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023.

The President's visit aimed to promote the importance of community involvement and collaboration in ensuring that schools are ready for the upcoming academic year 2023-2024.

Despite heavy rains, the President arrived at V. Mapa High School at exactly 9:07 in the morning, accompanied by Vice-President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Z. Duterte, DepEd-NCR Regional Director Wilfredo Cabral, and other government officials.

As he entered the school grounds, President Marcos was greeted by the school officials led by School Principal Robert Velasquez, teachers, students, and parents who were excited to meet the country's leader.

Volunteers from the local community, government agencies, and private organizations joined forces to clean classrooms, repair facilities, and enhance the learning environment for students. Tools and equipment for cleaning and repairs were provided by both the school and the volunteers.

During his visit, the President actively participated in the maintenance activities. Together with VP Duterte, they joined a group of parents and teachers in giving some armchairs a fresh coat of paint, while some were busy fixing broken furniture, and beautifying the school grounds. The President's hands-on approach highlighted his commitment to education and his belief in the power of unity.

President Marcos and VP Duterte also provided P1 million to the V. Mapa High School to support its participation in the Brigada Eskwela.

Meeting with members of the media, the Chief Executive said this year’s class opening would be the most “relatively normal” set up after the pandemic lockdown. “Ito ‘yung unang pasukan na medyo normal after lockdown.”

On schools damaged by Typhoon Egay, he said everything is being done to repair the damage despite the weather being a big obstacle. “Ginagawa [natin ang] lahat para maayos ang mga nasira. Malaking sagabal itong weather natin.”

Through their actions, President Marcos and VP Duterte emphasized the significance of Brigada Eskwela and the role that every individual plays in ensuring the success of the education system. He praised the dedication and hard work of the volunteers and encouraged others to get involved in similar initiatives.

The two top leaders also exhibited the government's commitment to education, both earlier citing ongoing efforts to improve infrastructure, enhance the training of teachers, and provide access to quality education for all. 

Both were able to express their belief that investing in education is investing in the future of the nation.

The visit to V. Mapa School marked an important milestone for President Marcos who has prioritized education as one of the key areas for national development as stated in his administration's Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. 

By participating in BE, the President demonstrated his hands-on approach and genuine concern for the well-being of students and teachers across the country.

As the event concluded, the President expressed his gratitude to the school and its volunteers for their hard work and dedication. 

The Chief Executive also reiterated his commitment to supporting the education sector and encouraged everyone to continue working together to provide quality education for all Filipino students.

Brigada Eskwela, which translates to “school brigade," or the School Maintenance Week is an annual event that was established in 2003, which is a nationwide volunteer effort that aims to enhance public elementary and secondary schools by mobilizing parents, alumni, civic groups, and other volunteers to clean, repair, and maintain classrooms before the start of the school year. 

The BE theme for this year, "Bayanihan Para sa Matatag na Paaralan,” as explained by VP Duterte, is much simpler so that it could be easily understood by all. It was launched during the kickoff ceremony on Aug. 7, 2023 at the Tarlac National High School.

The BE program will run until Aug. 19 and encourages participation from parents, alumni, civic groups, and other volunteers. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has also adjusted its security preparations for the opening of classes to ensure the safety of students inside the school premises. (PIA-NCR)

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Alice Sicat

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Assistant Regional Director of PIA-NCR

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