CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City--- More and more partner organizations have pledged to support the upcoming National Schools Maintenance Week of the Department of Education (DepEd) which will officially start on May 19, Monday, up to May 23, 2014.
Lt Col Harold Cabunoc, the Commander of the 7th Civil Relations Group of the Civil Relations Service, AFP, said that several non-government organizations have expressed support to the annual Brigada Eskwela activity.
“We are very happy to announce that the government is getting more support from various partners in this noble mission of preparing the public school facilities prior to the class opening in June. Through the AFP’s stakeholders engagement programs, we are able to bridge the NGOs to the lead agency, the education department,” he said.
Wo Rosete, the Public Affairs Officer of Smart Communications, is one of those who strongly supported the Brigada Eskwela since 2009. He said that he and some of his staff will personally participate in the maintenance and repair works of Culiat Elementary School in Quezon City.
“I am very proud to represent my company in this annual event. This is also part of our advocacy to engage communities and help solve common problems,” said Rosete.
Dulce Gamboa, the President of Talima Foundation, has supported the Brigada Eskwela for several years now. She said that she has advocated volunteerism not only within the family but also among her circle of friends.
“It is heartwarming to help and give something back to the community. I am very happy that I have successfully spread the volunteerism virus within my family especially to my young daughter who is actively participating in community outreach programs like this,” she said.
Carlo Claudio, the President of the Rotary Club of Makati-Pasong Tamo, has organized volunteers from his own club.
“True to our motto, it is service above self. To support the Brigada Eskwela, I and my fellow Rotarians will leave our respective offices to give back to our communities,” said Claudio who also carried out a relief mission to help victims in Yolanda-affected areas in November 2013.
Cabunoc said that the AFP regularly deploys soldiers to augment the multi-sectoral volunteers for the Brigada Eskwela.
“As part of the AFP unit in the NCR, the 7th CRG is working under the direction of the Joint Task Force-NCR in providing skilled personnel for specific tasks such as repainting, repairing, and cleaning public school facilities nationwide. For 5 days, our soldiers will abandon the traditional weapons of war and will engage in a different battle using hammers, paint rollers and soft brooms,” said Cabunoc, whose unit co-organized the painting of the world’s longest peace mural.
Brigadier General Manuel Gonzales, the Commander of Joint Task Force-NCR, will personally attend the Brigada Eskwela opening ceremony in one of the schools in the metropolis.
In this file photo taken last year, soldiers belonging to the 7th Civil Relations Group repair the damaged arm chairs at a public school in Quezon City. Soldiers are deployed to participate in the annual Brigada Eskwela as part of its Bayanihan activities.
Cabunoc also said that AFP units all over the archipelago will participate in this year’s Brigada Eskwela.
He said that the military’s presence in far-flung communities provides them the golden opportunity to help the government show governance by partnering with the local government units and NGOs in delivering basic services.
Included in this year’s focus for the Brigada Eskwela is the improvement of toilets and wash facilities and also the refurbishing of worn-out arm chairs and tables.
Through its Stakeholders Engagement Program, the AFP supports DepEd in mobilizing teachers, students, parents, civic and business groups, local government units, and other volunteers in the community for the annual Brigada Eskwela for all of the 45,000 public elementary and secondary schools nationwide. Through its partnerships, the AFP has also encouraged NGOs to donate carpentry equipment, construction and cleaning materials.
The Joint Task Force NCR is mobilizing up to a thousand of active duty soldiers and reservists for the 5-day maintenance and repair activities for public schools within Metro Manila.
Among the units that will support JTF-NCR for this year’s Brigada Eskwela include the CMO Battalion of the Philippine Army, CMO Group of the Philippine Navy, Civil Military Affairs Brigade of the AFP Reserve Command, NCRRCDG, and the 7th Civil Relations Group, CRSAFP.