PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

DEP-ED, PNP: FIRST DAY OF CLASSES SAFE, SECURE, ORDERLY


JUNE 3 ---With thousands of policemen posted in strategic areas, Monday’s opening of classes in public schools was generally peaceful with no untoward incidents reported among students flocking back to classes.
This was the assessment of the Philippine National Police on the first day of classes in most public schools in the country. “The opening was generally peaceful, safe and secure … We plan to use the same security template as private schools resume their classes in a few weeks,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias told reporters. Over 25 million students are expected to go back to school this month as classes in the primary and secondary levels resume. In Metro Manila, the PNP deployed 24,000 cops to operate police assistance desks near schools. READ MORE...

ALSO 117th Phl Independence Day:  Iloilo set to host Freedom Day


JUNE 5 ---© Provided by The Philippine Star Departing from tradition, this year’s 117th Independence Day ceremonies will be held not in Luzon but in Iloilo’s Sta. Barbara town, where the Philippine flag was first raised to inaugurate the provisional revolutionary government of the Visayas in 1898. After the flag raising ceremony, the President will motor to Molo church in Iloilo City and onto the restored Iloilo provincial capitol for the traditional vin d’ honneur, the first outside of Malacañang Palace  ILOILO CITY: The local government plans to showcase the best products in the province when it hosts the 117th Independence Day national celebration for the first time. President Benigno Aquino 3rd will lead the celebration with early morning flag raising rites at the historic plaza of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo City to be followed with the traditional vin d’honneur’ to be attended by the President, top Cabinet officials and members of the diplomatic community. Aquino is expected to arrive in Iloilo City on June 11, 2015 or a day earlier to oversee the development projects from the Iloilo airport up to the city proper including the road widening project, the Iloilo Convention Center and the new bridge crossing the Iloilo River to Lapuz district. In an interview with Bombo Radyo, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said the event will be attended by about 450 guests including about 100 foreign ambassadors and chiefs of mission. Drilon said all governors and lawmakers from the Visayas are coming to Iloilo including the Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, House Speaker and Quezon City Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and the country’s big business players. Some of the guests will be coming on June 11 and some will be staying until June 13 to make the Iloilo event a three-day affair. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pangasinan students start school year in ‘condemnable’ rooms


JUNE 6 ---Pupils at a public elementary school in Calasiao town in Pangasinan started the school year in classrooms that the school's principal herself described as "condemnable."
But the pupils of Talibaew Elementary School were to be moved to a better facility as of Tuesday afternoon, GMA Dagupan's Joyce Segui and Alfie Tulagan reported on "24 Oras North Central Luzon." In the first two days of school, some Grade Four students had to keep looking up - at a dilapidated ceiling that could crash down at any time. "Pag umulan lang nang kaunti, yung diyan sa pintuan, pumupunta ang tubig sa loob. Hindi pwede namang galawin kasi under demolition ito," said teacher Bernadette Pimentel. School principal Sonia Solis said the classrooms are "temporary" and the pupils would be transferred to vacant classrooms. "Pag okay na ang enrollment, na-settle ang number of pupils, ililipat din sila doon sa existing vacant classrooms," she said. "For major repair talaga siya, condemnable na po siya kaya temporary lang ang bata nariyan," she added. But as of Tuesday afternoon, an update indicated Solis ordered the chairs in the dilapidated classrooms transferred to the nearby learning center. The dilapidated classrooms, built as early as 1968, are vulnerable to mud and floods when it rains. Doors creak as the some hinges are no longer connected, while the floors have cracks. — Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News THIS IS THE FULL REPORT\

ALSO in Maguindanao:  School kids' parents help soldiers in making new classrooms


JUNE 1 ---Moro children wait for their turns to receive school supplies and food from the provincial government of Maguindanao during an outreach mission this week as highlight of the launching of a joint civil-military school building project in Datu Unsay town. John Unson 
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - Parents of pupils enrolled at the Datu Unsay Elementary School (DUCES) in southern Maguindanao are helping protect unarmed soldiers constructing new classrooms for their children. The move, supported by barangay officials in Maguindanao’s Datu Unsay and Datu Saudi towns, is a community response to an appeal by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Magudadatu for local folks to help ensure the swift construction of a new school building inside the DUCES campus. Members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters destroyed the school buildings in the campus and even burned down one, built with the help of World Bank, in one attack after another from 2012 until 2014.  “We are here to help protect the soldiers implementing the school building project. We are doing this for the sake of our children,” Emraida, a mother of three, said in the Maguindanaon vernacular. The military is confident it can easily accomplish the construction the school building project, bankrolled with a P700,000 grant from the office of Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). READ MORE...

ALSO: 23M students back to school; Luistro says DepEd ‘better prepared’


JUNE 2  ---Education Secretary Armin Luistro poses with the teachers and students of Mabila Central Elementary School in Balut Island, Davao del Sur on the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. Luistro will also visit 18 schools in the island. Cesar Apolinario 
Luistro visits schools on Balut Island Luistro visits schools on Balut Island . Education Secretary Armin Luistro poses with the teachers and students of Mabila Central Elementary School in Balut Island, Davao del Sur on the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. Luistro will also visit 18 schools in the island. Cesar Apolinario (Updated 1:40 p.m.) The Department of Education (DepEd) said it expected some 23 million students to troop to elementary and high schools nationwide on Monday for the school opening. Despite the usual problems of lack of classrooms and equipment, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the opening of school year 2015-2016 was generally better than that of the previous years, with school administrators and teachers better prepared. In an interview on GMA News TV's News To Go, Luistro said, "In general, ang mga reports na napupunta sa akin at aking nababasa ay maayos naman."  He added: "Maayos iyong paunang pagbubukas ng klase, hindi kagaya noong three or four years ago, makikita natin na talagang napakaraming problema halos lahat. Pero ngayon, nag-iba na ang DepEd."  He credits the said development to the preparations made by principals and teachers at the annual Brigada Eskwela, as well as on reforms made within the department. READ MORE...

ALSO: SAF 44 kids get scholarships, extra perks from National Police Commission


JUNE 5 ---The children of the 44 slain Special Action Force police troopers get an increase in educational assistance in consideration of the K to 12 program. PHILSTAR  Children of the 44 Special Action Force policemen killed in the Mamasapano encounter in Maguindanao, whose scholarships have been approved, will benefit from the increased educational assistance provided by the National Police Commission. The beneficiaries were already notified to coordinate with the Napolcom Regional Offices for the release of their scholarship benefits. As a pre-requisite for the release however, the beneficiaries must submit a copy of the proof of enrollment with corresponding receipts or submit a copy of fees assessment from the school. The commission issued Memorandum Circular No. 2015-001 which prescribes a new schedule of tuition and miscellaneous expenses granted to the beneficiaries and children of deceased or permanently incapacitated police personnel. Under the revised rate, the scholars shall now receive the following amounts for tuition and miscellaneous expenses: P10,000 per school year for Kindergarten scholar; from P12,000 to P18,000 per school year for Elementary scholar; from P16,000 to P24,000 per school year for Secondary Education scholar; from P12,000 to P18,000 per semester for Vocational scholar; and from P22,000 to P30,000 per semester for College scholar. READ MORE...

ALSO: MILF, AFP join Brigada Eskwela


JUNE 4 ---JOINT FORCES – AFP soldiers and MILF fighters joined hands to repair an old school building in Rajamuda, Pikit, North Cotabato on Wdenesday as part of the three-day Brigada Eskwela activities launched by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process 9OPPAP), the AFP, MILF, local government units and line agencies conducted at various MILF camps in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. (Alejandro D. Lopez) MANILA BULLETIN  RAJA MUDA, Pikit, North Cotabato: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had an opportunity to work together as volunteers for Brigada Eskwela at Camp Raja Muda on Wednesday. Led by the deputy commander of the national guard 3rd command base of the MILF, about 30 MILF members, who are skilled carpenters, and members of AFP’s 602nd Infantry Brigade were on ground for the event. Simultaneous with Raja Muda, another group of MILF fighters and army troops volunteered for Brigada at Camp Bushra, Lanao del Sur. Together, they repaired roofs damaged by war including dents on windows and cleaned the grounds and painted the Raja Muda Elementary School. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chair of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), said the Brigada Eskwela in the MILF camps is part of the signed commitment to transform the rebel camps as social progressive entity. READ MORE...

ALSO TIMES Editorial: K to 12 and the wrong reasons to oppose education reform


JUNE 4 ---AS if timed with the opening of classes, new legal challenges have sprung up against the K to 12 program. While we remain confident in the collective wisdom of the Supreme Court, we feel concerned. The political season is upon us, and we sense that not a few politicians will exploit this populist issue against educational reform. To be clear, The Manila Times supports K to 12. And as we have said before in this space, we believe that it will improve the overall quality of education and make Filipino professionals more competitive in the global workplace. The government points out that the Philippines is among the few countries with a basic education program of only 10 years, along with Angola and Djibouti. And on its website, the Department of Education adds: “A 12-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education. It is also the recognized standard for students and professionals globally.”  With only 10 years of education, Filipino professionals stand under a glass ceiling. In Thailand, for instance, Filipino engineers are not qualified to work as engineers entitled to the commensurate pay and perks, precisely because the Philippine basic education system is shorter by two years. In Singapore, Filipino professionals are denied promotions simply because they do not meet the basic educational requirement. There are other anecdotal examples, but perhaps the best that we have seen is that private schools in the Philippines have either implemented K to 12 ahead of the government schedule, or are well into the transition. So if money were no object, the choice seems to be 12 years of basic education. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

DepEd, PNP: First-day classes safe, secure, orderly

MANILA, JUNE 8, 2015 (INQUIRER) Jocelyn R. Uy, Julie M. Aurelio - With thousands of policemen posted in strategic areas, Monday’s opening of classes in public schools was generally peaceful with no untoward incidents reported among students flocking back to classes.

This was the assessment of the Philippine National Police on the first day of classes in most public schools in the country.

“The opening was generally peaceful, safe and secure … We plan to use the same security template as private schools resume their classes in a few weeks,” PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Bartolome Tobias told reporters.

Over 25 million students are expected to go back to school this month as classes in the primary and secondary levels resume.

In Metro Manila, the PNP deployed 24,000 cops to operate police assistance desks near schools.

READ MORE...
The PNP officer in charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, reminded police chiefs to maintain vigilance and intensified police visibility operations near schools.

Assistance desks

Tobias said it would be up to local commanders to assess if continued police deployment would be needed in the coming weeks.

The PNP will maintain assistance desks near schools for the first two weeks until the situation settles down.

“We will pull out the police assistance desks only when we see that the situation has stabilized and the flow of human traffic to schools has normalized,” Espina said.

The PNP is working with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to oversee the traffic situation near schools.

Espina said the installation of surveillance cameras in places of convergence was also expected to prevent street crimes.

Education Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera said the opening of classes was “more orderly” compared to previous years.

“Before, students will enter school in a very disorderly (manner), chairs were lacking. Those have been addressed,” Rivera said.

In terms of the number of classrooms, from July 2010 to December 2013, the education department has built 66,813 classrooms. Last year, 33,608 classrooms were built, and an additional 41,728 classrooms were proposed to be built this year.

Luistro in Balut

Education Secretary Armin Luistro led the opening of classes on the remote island of Balut in Davao del Sur province. He attended the flag ceremony at Mabila Central Elementary School and distributed learner’s kits, such as notebooks, pencils and bags.

Assistant Education Secretary Jesus Mateo denied that Luistro chose to attend the opening of classes outside Metro Maanila because he wanted to avoid protest actions.

“He usually goes to remote areas to see if there are problems and what solutions can be offered,” Mateo said.

As schools reopened, about a million first and second graders in the country’s public schools had reason to smile.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said it was taking over a Department of Education (DepEd) project providing oral kits to one million public schoolchildren to ensure they would brush their teeth daily.

PhilHealth president Alex Padilla said the state-run insurance firm would be allotting P32 million for the project as a preventive measure against tooth decay and other health problems that plague children.

Toothbrush and soap

Padilla said PhilHealth was adopting the DepEd program, which allots each child a pack containing a toothbrush, toothpaste with fluoride, deworming medicines and soap for hand washing. Each kit is worth P32, he said.

He said PhilHealth decided to take over the project since DepEd was having trouble bankrolling it.

Under the program, PhilHealth will pay the schools for the dental kits, which will be distributed to Grades 1 and 2 pupils.

Tooth extraction?

Asked if PhilHealth planned to include tooth extraction and dental fillings for children, Padilla said the insurance firm was wary about this.

“Once we offer this kind of benefit, it changes behavior. Our concern is that when we say we are going to fund tooth extractions, we might see a lot of children having their teeth extracted unnecessarily,” Padilla said.–With reports from Jovic Yee and Kathrina Pineda


MANILA TIMES

Iloilo set to host Freedom Day June 5, 2015 8:06 pm by Lydia C. Pendon


© Provided by The Philippine Star Departing from tradition, this year’s 117th Independence Day ceremonies will be held not in Luzon but in Iloilo’s Sta. Barbara town, where the Philippine flag was first raised to inaugurate the provisional revolutionary government of the Visayas in 1898. After the flag raising ceremony, the President will motor to Molo church in Iloilo City and onto the restored Iloilo provincial capitol for the traditional vin d’ honneur, the first outside of Malacañang Palace 

ILOILO CITY: The local government plans to showcase the best products in the province when it hosts the 117th Independence Day national celebration for the first time.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd will lead the celebration with early morning flag raising rites at the historic plaza of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo City to be followed with the traditional vin d’honneur’ to be attended by the President, top Cabinet officials and members of the diplomatic community.

Aquino is expected to arrive in Iloilo City on June 11, 2015 or a day earlier to oversee the development projects from the Iloilo airport up to the city proper including the road widening project, the Iloilo Convention Center and the new bridge crossing the Iloilo River to Lapuz district.

In an interview with Bombo Radyo, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said the event will be attended by about 450 guests including about 100 foreign ambassadors and chiefs of mission.

Drilon said all governors and lawmakers from the Visayas are coming to Iloilo including the Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, House Speaker and Quezon City Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and the country’s big business players.

Some of the guests will be coming on June 11 and some will be staying until June 13 to make the Iloilo event a three-day affair.

READ MORE...
Drilon said that with all eyes on Iloilo in June 12, “let us make use of that momentous event to show this nation the soaring aspirations of Ilonggos that with our past, present and near future achievements, we are poised to reclaim Iloilo’s rightful place as Queen City of the South.”

He added that Iloilo’s hosting of the Independence day rites is not just about a celebration of a key moment in the nation’s history, but is also a national affirmation and acknowledgement of Iloilo’s rise as a progressive and developing center in the Visayas.”

The Senate President reiterated that the Ilonggos should unify as one and work and cooperate together to present Iloilo’s story “of revival and redemption from a depressed locale with little development, to a bustling and investor-friendly economic hub that is not afraid to take on major development projects.”


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Pangasinan students start school year in ‘condemnable’ rooms June 3, 2015 12:35pm

Pupils at a public elementary school in Calasiao town in Pangasinan started the school year in classrooms that the school's principal herself described as "condemnable."

But the pupils of Talibaew Elementary School were to be moved to a better facility as of Tuesday afternoon, GMA Dagupan's Joyce Segui and Alfie Tulagan reported on "24 Oras North Central Luzon."

In the first two days of school, some Grade Four students had to keep looking up - at a dilapidated ceiling that could crash down at any time.

"Pag umulan lang nang kaunti, yung diyan sa pintuan, pumupunta ang tubig sa loob. Hindi pwede namang galawin kasi under demolition ito," said teacher Bernadette Pimentel.

School principal Sonia Solis said the classrooms are "temporary" and the pupils would be transferred to vacant classrooms.

"Pag okay na ang enrollment, na-settle ang number of pupils, ililipat din sila doon sa existing vacant classrooms," she said.

"For major repair talaga siya, condemnable na po siya kaya temporary lang ang bata nariyan," she added.

But as of Tuesday afternoon, an update indicated Solis ordered the chairs in the dilapidated classrooms transferred to the nearby learning center.

The dilapidated classrooms, built as early as 1968, are vulnerable to mud and floods when it rains.

Doors creak as the some hinges are no longer connected, while the floors have cracks. Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News


PHILSTAR

School kids' parents help soldiers in making new classrooms By John Unson (philstar.com) | Updated June 6, 2015 - 5:24pm


Moro children wait for their turns to receive school supplies and food from the provincial government of Maguindanao during an outreach mission this week as highlight of the launching of a joint civil-military school building project in Datu Unsay town. John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - Parents of pupils enrolled at the Datu Unsay Elementary School (DUCES) in southern Maguindanao are helping protect unarmed soldiers constructing new classrooms for their children.

The move, supported by barangay officials in Maguindanao’s Datu Unsay and Datu Saudi towns, is a community response to an appeal by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Magudadatu for local folks to help ensure the swift construction of a new school building inside the DUCES campus.

Members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters destroyed the school buildings in the campus and even burned down one, built with the help of World Bank, in one attack after another from 2012 until 2014.

“We are here to help protect the soldiers implementing the school building project. We are doing this for the sake of our children,” Emraida, a mother of three, said in the Maguindanaon vernacular.

The military is confident it can easily accomplish the construction the school building project, bankrolled with a P700,000 grant from the office of Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

READ MORE...
Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the provincial peace and order council, which is chaired by Mangudadatu, is helping in the implementation of the project.

“This is a big help and this support from the ARMM, the provincial governor of Maguindanao and the local government units there will also educate the public that the Army is a partner in peace programs intended to address illiteracy in far-flung areas,” Pangilinan said.

The ARMM-assisted school building project is being built by the 6th Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion.

Members of the CMO unit, led by Lt. Col. Noman Alcovindas, earlier refurbished, with the help of Mangudadatu and the United States embassy, the dilapidated classrooms in the same school.

Alcovindas and his men turned over to teachers the rehabilitated school buildings and other facilities last Monday, during the symbolic launching of the ARMM school building project.

The groundbreaking rite for the new school building was jointly officiated last week by Pangilinan, Hataman, Maguindanao 2nd District Schools Superintendent Miriam Kawit, and a representative of Mangudadatu, Lynette Estandarte, who is chief of the provincial budget office.

Alcovindas said Estandarte, in-charge of the provincial government’s disaster and conflict response team, and her subordinates helped repair the school buildings, chairs and other facilities in the DUCES campus and in nearby schools in Shariff Aguak and Datu Saudi towns.

Hataman said the money for the project was drawn from the Special Purpose Fund of his office.

The DUCES campus is surrounded by hinterlands from where the outlawed BIFF launched attacks on highways straddling through Maguindanao and on roadside Moro peasant enclaves.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

23M students back to school; Luistro says DepEd ‘better prepared’ June 1, 2015 10:27am


Education Secretary Armin Luistro poses with the teachers and students of Mabila Central Elementary School in Balut Island, Davao del Sur on the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. Luistro will also visit 18 schools in the island. Cesar Apolinario

Luistro visits schools on Balut Island Luistro visits schools on Balut Island . Education Secretary Armin Luistro poses with the teachers and students of Mabila Central Elementary School in Balut Island, Davao del Sur on the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. Luistro will also visit 18 schools in the island. Cesar Apolinario

(Updated 1:40 p.m.) The Department of Education (DepEd) said it expected some 23 million students to troop to elementary and high schools nationwide on Monday for the school opening.

Despite the usual problems of lack of classrooms and equipment, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the opening of school year 2015-2016 was generally better than that of the previous years, with school administrators and teachers better prepared.

In an interview on GMA News TV's News To Go, Luistro said, "In general, ang mga reports na napupunta sa akin at aking nababasa ay maayos naman."

He added: "Maayos iyong paunang pagbubukas ng klase, hindi kagaya noong three or four years ago, makikita natin na talagang napakaraming problema halos lahat. Pero ngayon, nag-iba na ang DepEd."

He credits the said development to the preparations made by principals and teachers at the annual Brigada Eskwela, as well as on reforms made within the department.

READ MORE...
"Ang ating mga principal at ating mga guro ay talagang naghanda noong Brigada Eskwela pa... Marami na tayong nagawang reporma at lahat ng ating mga guro at teachers ay talagang palagay ko'y handang-handa na at ipinapakita talaga nila iyan," he said.

Signature campaign vs. K-12

Preparations for the introduction of the K-12 senior high school program for school year 2016-2017 have also begun.

Youth and teacher groups marked the first day of classes with a protest at Batasan National High School, where they took their 1-million signature campaign to stop the K-12 program.

Among the legislators who signed the said petition are Kabataan Partylist Rep. Teddy Ridon, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, and Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.

‘Difficult’ to stop K-12

In the News To Go interview, Luistro said it would be difficult to stop the education reform at this point as the government has been gradually rolling it out for five years now.

"Medyo mahihirapan tayo na ipatigil pa iyong nasimulan na. Pang-limang taon na ngayon at bago nila makuha iyong isang milyon na lagda, baka naman tapos na iyong taon," he said. "Kaya hindi ko maipinta kung ano ang ating gagawin kasi paano natin pipigilan ang isang programa na ngayon pa lang ay puspusan na ang implementasyon?"

Luistro pointed out that 30,000 classrooms have been built for the final leg of the K-12 program, and 5,800 schools that will offer the said program are gearing up for it already.

He added that some 3,000 state, local, and private universities are now preparing for the first batch of senior high school students for 2016.

Luistro said they also will not stop teachers from going against the K-12 program, as long as they do not forget their responsibilities.

"'Iyong pagkakaalam ko, sila naman mismo ang nagsabi na hindi naman sila nagbo-boycott, hindi nila iiwan ang responsibilidad nila sa estudyante. Itong pangmalawakang reporma sa edukasyon, meron at merong mag-o-oppose diyan," he said.

He added: "Ang mga teacher sa eskwelahan hindi tayo dapat matakot sa ibang mga paningin. Kailangan patuloy ang ating pakikipag-usap. Hindi natin pinatatahimik iyong mga boses na kumukontra... Sana hindi lang nila nakakalimutan ang kanilang responsibilidad."

Late enrollees, problems

Various schools within Metro Manila said they are expecting their student population to go up within a week or two with late enrollees, TV reports said.

In an interview with radio dzBB on Monday, DepEd Asec. Jesus Lorenzo Mateo said enrollees increase by 150,000 to 250,000 a year, which they take as a good sign since it means there are less out-of-school youths.

In a separate interview with Balitanghali, however, he pointed out that late enrollment is a challenge to them yearly.

"Ang talagang problema natin taon-taon rin 'yung challenge ng biglaang nagta-transfer or late enrollees. Alam niyo, ang pagpaplano kasi ng DepEd, nagsisimula ng January... Kailangan malaman kung ilan ang estudyante, pero taon-taon na lang, kung kailan nagbubukas ang mga paaralan, doon na lang natin nakikita ['yung estudyante]," he said.

While it presents a problem for other schools in the metro, late enrollment is helping Perfecto High School in Manila to boost their numbers, as they are 700 students short of their 2,000-student target.

A Balitanghali report said this is due to students transferring to nearby schools after one of the buildings there was torn down.

Despite a lower number of students, school officials said they still face problems, as they have only 20 classrooms for more than 1,000 students, eight of which have no blackboards.

Regarding similar reports from various schools in Metro Manila, Mateo said they monitor reports about where specifically these problems occur.

He added, "Nag-iikot naman po kami, pero sa dami naman po ng mga paaralan natin, hindi lang naman po sa Manila ang mino-monitor natin. 'Yun iba po nag-iikot sa mga provinces."

Earthquake preparedness

Some schools marked the beginning of the school year with activities for earthquake preparedness, after authorities identified areas that lie along the West Valley Fault.

According to Mateo, assessment of schools is still ongoing in areas affected, with DepEd advising some schools not to use certain buildings.

He added that schools along the fault line have called meetings with parents to discuss preparations.

"'Yung ibang paaralan natin, lalo na 'yung nasa West Valley Fault, since last week pinatawag na 'yung mga magulang para malaman 'yung kailangang gawin... Ine-engganyo rin 'yung mga paaralan for quarterly earthquake drills," he said. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/RSJ/KG, GMA News

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Luistro: Sacrifice of students in remote schools inspiring, humbling By CESAR APOLINARIO,GMA News June 2, 2015 6:37pm


PHOTO from @DepEd_PH Education Secretary Armin Luistro spent the opening of classes Monday by welcoming students of schools on two islands in Davao Occidental. Luistro was welcomed by about 200 students in Mabila Elementary School in Sarangani town where he led the flag-raising ceremony. According to the Department of Education (DepEd), majority of students of the school were from B’laan and Sangil tribes.

Luistro visits schools on Balut Island Luistro visits schools on Balut Island . Education Secretary Armin Luistro poses with the teachers and students of Mabila Central Elementary School in Balut Island, Davao del Sur on the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. Luistro will also visit 18 schools in the island. Cesar Apolinario

Balut Island, Sarangani, Davao del Sur -- Education Secretary Armin Luistro became emotional during a visit in Barangay Tucal here, as he continued to assess the school needs of students and teachers in this remote town Tuesday.

"Ang mga bata, kahit malayo ang bahay sa eskwelahan, may pangarap sila sa buhay. Iyong iba bulag, bingi, may kapansanan, pero pumapasok. Nahihirapan pero may iisang hangarin, ang matuto," Luistro said, his voice breaking.

Luistro and officials from the regional offices of Department of Education (DepEd) visited two elementary schools in Sarangani town namely Kenel and Tucal Elementary School.

Luistro, since his appointment as DepEd chief four years ago, has visited thousands of public schools.

He said their journey to the remote islands of Sarangani town is both humbling and inspiring. He noted how children in remote and isolated areas often have to walk long distances to get to school. Some children manage to hitch rides on habal-habal (motorcyles) or even small boats, but these options expose them to danger.

Luistro's team visited 16 elementary and high schools in Sarangani Monday. It marked the first time the areas have been visited by officials from Manila.

Luistro stressed that it is Deped's job to assess the specific needs of all schools, even those in remote areas. He said it is the job of DepEd officials to personally meet students and teachers in remote places. He saids this will give the department an updated information on why children sometimes opt to drop out.


Incoming students of Pedro Diaz High School in Muntinlupa City wait for their school advisers inside a gymnasium during the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. Some 23 million students are expected to flock to public and private schools nationwide. Danny Pata

"Ang hirap kung ako ang magulang ng mga bata. Paano kung may kapansanan? Kailangan ang DepEd patuloy na maghanap ng paraan kung paano sila palalapitin sa eskwelahan," Luistro said.

He said visits to remote schools provide him a clear view of the depth of the challenges children face. He became emotional and choked up at times when asked if he would be willing to stay some more years to serve as Deped chief.

"Mahirap pero sa totoo lang, walang bagay na mahirap kung makikita mo ang mga bata, mga payat pero nagsusumikap na busugin ang utak ng kaalaman, nagtitiyagang makipagsapalaran para may matutunan. Dadalhin ko ang mga imaheng ito sa pagbabalik ko sa Maynila. Lahat tayo kailangang isulong at i-promote ang edukasyon," he said.

Luistro was former president of Dela Salle University and part of Fratres Scholarum Christianarum or Brothers of Christian Schools.

He said after his stint at the education department, he will continue working to help less fortunate Filipinos who have been deprived of education.

"Walang makakapagbago sa mga lugar gaya nitong Balut Island na isolated kundi ang pagmamahal natin sa edukasyon," he said. - JJ, GMA News


MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL

K to 12 and the wrong reasons to oppose education reform June 4, 2015 11:45 pm

AS if timed with the opening of classes, new legal challenges have sprung up against the K to 12 program. While we remain confident in the collective wisdom of the Supreme Court, we feel concerned. The political season is upon us, and we sense that not a few politicians will exploit this populist issue against educational reform.

To be clear, The Manila Times supports K to 12. And as we have said before in this space, we believe that it will improve the overall quality of education and make Filipino professionals more competitive in the global workplace.

The government points out that the Philippines is among the few countries with a basic education program of only 10 years, along with Angola and Djibouti. And on its website, the Department of Education adds: “A 12-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education. It is also the recognized standard for students and professionals globally.”

With only 10 years of education, Filipino professionals stand under a glass ceiling.

In Thailand, for instance, Filipino engineers are not qualified to work as engineers entitled to the commensurate pay and perks, precisely because the Philippine basic education system is shorter by two years. In Singapore, Filipino professionals are denied promotions simply because they do not meet the basic educational requirement.

There are other anecdotal examples, but perhaps the best that we have seen is that private schools in the Philippines have either implemented K to 12 ahead of the government schedule, or are well into the transition. So if money were no object, the choice seems to be 12 years of basic education.

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Should those who cannot afford private schools be left with only 10 years? We disagree. Those who have no means to pursue more years of education should be afforded the same level of schooling as the ones who are better off. We agree with the argument that retaining the present 10-year system is actually anti-poor.

Ridiculous reasons Those challenging K to 12, however, are also using the poverty card. They have said that two extra years of high school add financial burden to families that are already cash-strapped.

This line is echoed in a recent survey reporting that two-thirds of Filipinos disagree with the need for additional two years of high school. We sense that the respondents would probably answer differently if the question were: Do you agree to two extra years of high school if that will mean better career opportunities to the graduates?

After all, what kind of opportunities would be available to a 16-year old, the typical age of those finishing 10 years of basic education?

To address this concern, the government should provide even more scholarships and grants to poor students. In fairness to the Aquino government, it is asking Congress for P10.7 billion to fund school vouchers in 2016.

For 2017, the plan is to increase the allocation to P17.5 billion to also cover those entering Grade 12. We hope that our lawmakers approve those measures quickly.

The other common reason for opposing K to 12 cites the lack of readiness. In fact, the survey mentioned earlier says that 63 percent of its respondents do not believe that the government is ready to implement K to 12 in full by next year.

That must be the most defeatist kind of thinking we have encountered. If the government is not yet ready, then the solution is to make it ready. Why deny Filipino students the minimum standards held globally just because we still need more classrooms, textbooks and other such things?

Besides, those opposing K to 12 fail to mention that we are in the fifth year of implementation. The reforms do not simply go online next year. Instead, they have been progressing for half a decade and have now reached the last leg.

Having failed to block the passage of Republic Act 10533 and the corresponding implementing rules, those against it are hoping to turn public opinion against K to 12.

They pretend to care for the poor, but in reality they condemn them to a lower standard than the rest of the world.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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