Getting their hands dirty for a good cause: AUSTRALIAN ENVOY JOINS TAGUIG MAYOR IN “BRIGADA ESKWELA 2012”

Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddel today joined Mayor Lani Cayetano and other volunteers in getting their hands dirty for an immaculate cause: helping students learn better through clean classrooms.

The Australian envoy and Mayor Lani were among those who helped clean and repaint the classrooms at the Silangan Elementary School in Upper Bicutan as part of the Brigada Eskwela 2012 in Taguig.

While the Australian embassy had been taking part in the week-long classroom cleaning and maintenance program in the past, this was the first time Ambassador Tweddel literally lent a helping hand for “Brigada Eskwela.”

Australia and Taguig City are key partners in earlier piloting a disaster risk management program called BRACE (Building the Resilience and Awareness of Metro Manila Communities to Natural Disasters and Climate Change Impacts).

“Our support to Brigada Eskwela complements what we aim to do through the BRACE program – to support Filipinos to take action in their local communities to protect and preserve their environment to help reduce vulnerability to natural disasters,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
Australian Embassy staff will participate in Brigada Eskwela activities this week in five schools in Taguig City, providing each school with at least P60,000 worth of materials and supplies for minor repairs repainting and cleaning.

“We are grateful to the generous assistance of the Australian government. We are also honored that Ambassador Tweddell decided to personally help us in providing our school children with clean classrooms when they go back to school on June 4,” Mayor Lani said.

The week-long Brigada Eskwela in Taguig formally kicked off at the Signal Village National High School on May 21 but all public elementary schools in the city will participate in the week-long

During the “Brigada Eskwela,” stakeholders in the education sector—parents, students, education officials and teachers, and the local government—join hands to clean, re-decorate or repair classrooms and school buildings.

Taguig City actively participates in Brigada Eskwela every year.

Mayor Lani noted that the “Brigada Eskwela” program is a modern version of the “Bayanihan”, a Filipino tradition in rural areas where members of a community volunteer to help each other for the common good.

For its part in the “Brigada Eskwela” the city government shouldered all expenses for cleaning materials—like rugs, dust pan, floor wax, waste bins, detergents, and brooms.

The city government provided as well as painting materials for school buildings or classrooms that needed a fresh coat of paint.

“Brigada Eskwela” is an annual program of the Department of Education (DepEd), mandated under DepEd Order No. 24 issued in 2008.

Mayor Lani has given top priority to the local education sector. Among others, she increased the budget for the scholarship program from P100 million in 2011 to P200 million this year.

In contrast, the previous administration allocated only P5 million for scholarship.

This year, Mayor Lani also launched the pioneering e-Graduation program, where live video of all the graduation rites in the city’s public schools is streamed on the Internet to allow relatives of the graduates—even those abroad—to witness the ceremonies.

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