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DepEd receives over P8.4M worth of donations during Brigada Eskwela Kick-off

PASIG CITY, Philippines – With the Brigada Eskwela 2016 kick-off and the preparation for the opening on June 13, various partners from the private sector donated boats, bicycles, solar-powered lamps, and school supplies that amounted to at least Php 8.4 million.
San Miguel Foundation, Inc. donated 1,000 bicycles worth Php 3,000,000 for several schools nationwide. 81 bicycles were distributed to students of Sta. Cruz Pingkian National High School, while 150 bicycles were given out to students of Kakiduguen National High School in Nueva Vizcaya.
Meanwhile, a boat was donated by Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation to ferry 24 children to and from school in a remote community in Nueva Vizcaya.
ICAD Foundation donated 1,443 solar lamps while One Meralco Foundation, Inc. donated 10,000 lamps.
The Latter Days Saint Charities likewise donated a total 2,825 solar-powered lamps worth Php 847,500.00.
In addition to these, the National Bookstore Foundation, Inc. donated an additional 5,000 sets of school supplies and also pledged to build libraries in 5 schools in Nueva Vizcaya.
The donations amounted to Php 8,397,500 benefitting thousands of students from various elementary and secondary schools.
The bicycles, boats, solar lamps, and ceremonial library key were turned over to the Department of Education (DepEd) officials at Sta. Cruz Pingkian National High School, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, where the Brigada Eskwela 2016 natonal kick-off program was held.
Brigada Eskwela is a nationwide program that aims to bring together teachers, parents, and community members to prepare schools for the start of classes in June.
In his welcoming remarks, DepEd Nueva Vizcaya Schools Division Superintendent Samuel Soliven expressed gratitude to all the donors “who have come here to share their resources to the last, the least, and the lost.”
DepEd Region II Regional Director Estela Carino said she is deeply thankful for giving her office the chance to hold the Brigada Eskwela kick-off program before DepEd Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC steps down as education chief.
“We have decided to hold Brigada Eskwela here in Nueva Vizcaya. Every year, we bring the national kick-off ceremonies to different regions to convey the message that Brigada Eskwela is for all,” Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario Deriquito said.
Deriquito added that, “We have been doing this for 14 years since 2003. Let us make sure that everything in our schools gets fixed… let us emphasize and give priority to safety. Let us identify the underserved schools and let us help them.”
“Brigada Eskwela is not just for schools but for the whole community,” Luistro said.
In a separate press conference, Luistro said that DepEd wanted to hold the Brigada Eskwela kick-off program in an indigenous community.
Sta. Cruz Pingkian National High School caters to learners from indigenous communities.
“K to 12 is about the last mile also. It’s also about non-formal education. It’s also about the IP (indigenous peoples) communities. It’s also about 6th class municipalities,” Luistro said.
“If you look at the map of where we are putting up the senior high schools, we wanted to make sure that all the way to the 6th class municipalities, there are senior high schools. The special groups that we have included in the last mile efforts—street children, those with disabilities, IP groups—they are all part of this,” he added.
“Looking at the landscape, Kayapa has the best population of all of those last milers; besides, Kayapa can also be read as ‘Kaya pa.’ Last push, kayang kaya pa,” Luistro noted.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.