HERE IN BICOL Classrooms ready for 1.7M students
By Celso Amo LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Education in Bicol is now preparing thousands of classrooms for some 1.75 million students from kindergarten to senior high school who will be reporting back to their classrooms on June 4 this year. “Our enrollment has increased from 1.7 million last year,’ said Ramon Fiel Abcede, DepEd regional director for Bicol. Abcede spearheaded the launching Monday of Brigada Eskwela which was also participated in by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) at Barcelona Elementary and High School in Sorsogon province. Abcede said Barcelona Elementary and High School was a Brigada Escuela national awardee. Abcede said there’s no problem with the classrooms because of the continuous construction by the Department of Public Works and Highways. In fact, he said that one school has now 35 new classrooms. Because of the number of new classrooms, he said that the teacher to student ratio has dropped from one teacher to 50 students to about one teacher to 30 students in this year’s opening of classes. “DepEd has hired some 6,000 new teachers starting this school year,” he added. He also said that all enrollees will be accommodated and that students will have no other problem but to study. Claudio Yucot, Bicol-OCD regional director, said the agency also launched its Resiliency Caravan at Barcelona town as a pilot area. Yucot said that after the launching, OCD and DepEd personnel went to the different schools to clean, improve and repair the schools in preparation for the opening of classes next week. “Barcelona was our pilot project for the Resiliency Caravan,” said Yucot. He also said that there are now at least six permanent evacuation centers for Mayon evacuees. “Our lahar contingency plan is now ready for implementation,” said Yucot as he thanked Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino for insuring the lahar contingency plan be in placed before the start of the rainy season in Bicol. He said OCD is now on blue alert as Mayon Volcano is still at Alert Level 2. Phivolcs continues to warn disaster officials to be always on guard because of Mayon Volcano’s unpredictable ash-driven explosion where rainwater can sometimes accumulate near a volcano’s crater which is then heated up by molten magma that turns into steam.