The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday, June 6, urged evacuees from Marawi to enroll their children to the nearest schools in order for them to continue their studies.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said the DepEd has waived the usual documentary requirements for enrollment to give the children of the evacuees more leeway in going to school.
There are 22,000 affected students, according to ARMM report. Right now, Briones said there are 1,391 children from Marawi City who are enrolled in schools outside of the city.
She said the DepEd is still waiting for the advice of the military when Marawi City will get rid of the ISIS-backed Maute group, which means people could also return to their homes.
Briones also said the DepEd officials have asked local government units to empty the schools used as evacuation centers and assign other appropriate places so that children could return to school and spare them of war trauma.
For instance, she said there were reports saying that three schools in Iligan are being used as evacuation centers.
“We should protect our learners and our children from conflict because they are not part of all the dramatics going on at present. So we also seek your cooperation in spreading the word,” Briones said.
Meanwhile, Briones reported a smooth opening of classes in the country, which she attributed to the tremendous support of different sectors.
“We have had tremendous support from all sectors of the country. We also have had the benefit and I think this was crucial and the smooth operations yesterday of pre-enrollment as early as January… learners were already encouraged to enroll, and this led to very orderly… pag first day ng June, klase na kaagad,” Briones said.
Although she could not put together the tentative numbers of the enrollees, but for the public sector, Briones said they were expecting more than 22 million learners to attend classes.
As of June 5, the first day of classes, she said there were over 13,356,989 learners attending classes and this number could still increase.
This year’s school opening is unusual because of the ongoing conflict in Marawi City that hindered school children from attending classes.
In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that government troops continue to make headway into inner areas of Marawi City, adding that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has so far released more than P45 million in augmentation assistance to affected families.
Abella said that as of 7 pm Monday, troops recovered P52.2 million cash in Marawi City. The money has been secured and turned over to the headquarters Task Force Marawi for safekeeping.
“This debunks the claim that troops have been involved in looting as alleged by some quarters. The AFP clearly shows it’s doing its job with honor, integrity and stands on high moral ground,” he said.
On the ongoing diplomatic rift in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut off ties with Qatar, Abella assured that the government will extend its assistance to affected overseas Filipino workers.
“The decision of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar may have some ripple effects on our overseas Filipino workers,” Abella said.
“Concerned government agencies are now looking at the matter and would extend assistance and other support to OFWs who may be affected by such action,” he added.
Abella also responded to the statement of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio with regards to the South China Sea issue, saying that the President respects Justice Carpio’s views.
“We can assure the Justice and the people of the Philippines that the policies of this administration are not only directed at protecting the sovereignty of the Republic,” Abella said.
He added that the President and his Cabinet are working with the governments of all nations with legitimate interests in the South China Sea to ensure that the Philippines’ national interests are protected and the region remains a zone of peace.###PND