TACLOBAN CITY, May 19 (PNA) — The Tacloban City Division joined the whole nation in the kick-off of Brigada Eskwela on Monday with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez and Vice Mayor Jerry T. Yaokasin leading the ceremonial opening of this week-long school preparation activity.

The ceremony held at the Bagacay Elementay school for elementary and Marasbaras National High School for secondary campuses was joined by hundreds of teachers, learners and their parents.

Gorgonio Diaz, Tacloban City schools division superintendent, said that Brigada Eskwela was joined by all stakeholders in the community, including the local government unit, private organizations, civil society groups, the Philippine Army, Philippine Air force and even the indigenous group Manobo, whose children are enrolled at Bagacay Elementary school.

Minor repairs are usually done before the opening of classes. Maintenance work such as the repainting of the roof and exterior walls, repair of leaking water pipes, ceiling boards, broken furniture and windows, cleaning of toilets, and gardening are done by volunteers with the help of donations in kind from non-government organizations and corporations, Diaz said.

As early as February, school heads recruit volunteers who would participate in the brigade, by March, they would approach local businesses for donations, then organize work groups by April.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chair Idelbrando Bernadas was also present during the Brigada Eskwela launch.

He told the stakeholders present to make sure that the classrooms and the whole school is in compliance to governments call for a disaster resilience structures and to focus on disaster preparedness.

Brigada Eskwela is a school maintenance week, a bayanihan (heroism) for stakeholders to prepare the schools in the physical aspect, usually done two weeks before school starts.

“By the first day of classes, there will be no students or teachers cleaning the classrooms, but teaching and learning inside their classrooms,” Diaz said.

A week before opening of classes school authorities will also brace for Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) the activity primarily aim to address the problems commonly encountered at the start of the school year to ensure that learners are already properly enrolled and able to attend school by the first day of classes.

Diaz added that although only two schools were covered by the ceremonial kick-off, all 52 schools under the Tacloban City Division joined in the opening of Brigada Eskwela. (PNA)