Cotabato City, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) has launched the Brigada Eskwela in Marawi City where volunteers repaired, painted, and cleaned some of the schools that were damaged by the five-month fighting in the war-torn city.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones and DepEd-ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) Secretary Dr. John Magno led the Brigada Eskwela covering 16 schools in the city.
“Education must continue. Let’s all give quality education to the learners. The Department of Education will help rebuild damaged schools here in Marawi City,” Secretary Briones said. She also underscored the need to provide psychosocial assistance not just for the students but also for displaced teachers.
“Di namin pababayaan ang Marawi City. Umpisa lamang ito. Hindi natin ititigil ang Brigada Eskwela hanggang hindi natin matapos maayos ang lahat ng paaralan sa Marawi,” she added.
Volunteers came from various DepEd offices across the country. The activity is a joint effort among DepEd offices nationwide, with the regional offices in Mindanao providing the manpower and the Visayas and Luzon regional offices providing the resources.
Marawi City has a total of 69 schools, 22 of which were totally damaged in the war affecting more than 62,000 students who were enrolled in public and private schools as well as in state universities and colleges.
On November, the DepEd-ARMM started to repair seven damaged schools in Marawi City and 54 others in various parts of Lanao del Sur. “The (initial) budget for the repair, which is over P34 million, came from the regular program of the DepEd,” said Alfhadar Pajiji, DepEd-ARMM Assistant Secretary.
Schools where Brigada Eskwela was launched were the following: Bito Elementary School, Rorogagus Elementary School, Mipagaga Elementary School, Pendolonan Elementary School, Abdulazis Elementary School, Camp Bagong Amai Pakpak Elementary School, Sugod Central Elementary School, Sultan Conding Elementary School, Sikap Elementary School, Banga Primary School, Cabingan Primary School, Datu Tambak Primary School, Basak Elementary School, Pandi Elementary School, Marawi City National High School and Amai Pakpak Elementary School
“Nagpapasalamat po kami, dahil nakikita namin na hindi kami pinapabayaan. Marami po tumutulong sa amin pero sana po hindi na ulit magkagulo dito sa Marawi para tuluy-tuloy na pag aral namin at para maging masaya na kaming lahat dito,” Jomairah Noor, 5th grade student of Camp Bagong Amair Pakpak said.
(Translation: We are thankful because we were not abandoned. Many people are helping us but we are hoping no conflict will happen again so we can continue our studies and we will be happy again)
The DepEd-ARMM said it is continuously monitoring the situation students and teachers affected by the Marawi crisis.-ARMM Information bureau
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