Transport protest set Monday as millions head back to school; DepEd, MMDA unfazed

June 4, 2017 - 6:10 PM
InterAksyon file photo of DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones. The Education department said it had taken all steps to ensure a smooth class opening Monday despite declared plans for a transport caravan or protest.

MANILA – Transport sector leaders have declared plans for a “transport caravan” on Monday, but the Department of Education said it expects smooth opening of classes in most schools.

It said all the necessary preparations have been made to ensure there won’t be any major problems as 26.96 million students go back to classes. The total number of schools nationwide is 75,542 (53,043 public and 22,499 private).

For its part, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is deploying 2,296 traffic constables in critical areas leading to and around schools that are prone to traffic congestion. The MMDA-deployed forces will also be ready to assist and protect students, the agency said.

The scheduled transport caravan has also been planned for, said MMDA deputy chief of staff Mike Salalima.

The MMDA is fielding other support personnel from its Traffic Engineering Center (TEC), Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG), Anti-Jaywalking Unit, Anti-Smoking Enforcement Group, and Metro Parkway Clearing Group Personnel as part of contingency, Salalima said, adding, “We will also provide buses and other vehicles for the sudents.”

Meanwhile, local government officials were asked to provide buses instead of trucks for the convenience of female commuters.

However, the MMDA is not lifting the number coding scheme and the expanded no-window-hours policy on Monday.

According to Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, of the 26,969,816 students, most, or 22,891, 329 are enrolled in public schools; and 4,078,487 are enrolled in private schools nationwide for School Year (SY) 2017-2018.

For public schools, 2.06 million are in kindergarten, 14.40 million are in elementary and 7.65 million in Junior High School (JHS). Senior High School (SHS) accounts for 2.84 million.

For the private schools, 220,802 are enrolled in kindergarten, 1.25 million- in elementary, 1.33 million in JHS and 1.27 million in SHS.

DepEd said they have been working closely with their partners from both the government and private sector in ensuring a safe and conducive learning environment.

Officials and representatives of the various agency partners had earlier laid down their commitment to achieving this joint objective with the Education Department during the Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) Command Conference held on June 1, 2017 at the Bulwagan ng Karunugan, DepEd Central Office (CO) in Pasig City.