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Breaking the Brigada

Is not “brigada” the Spanish term for a certain military unit? How did it come to denote the act of communal construction? If the word could be so used, then to platoon a school would be a structure of smaller effort; and to battalion a campus would be of an enormous extent.

There is this bit of buzz of grumbling about this requisite for school enrollment for Philippine public schools. Cement hollow blocks, plywood boards, metal grills, construction labor fees and other accessories and miscellaneous expenses, should these not be the responsibility primarily of the institution and its administration and not of its clientele and the social environment which is arguably considered as its stakeholders? If a church needs repair or construction of a parsonage, perhaps the presbyter could request voluntary donations or lobby patronage of some philanthropic personality; but would not necessitate parishioners for provision before participation in any sacrament. If some structure on a shopping center breaks down, I guess management would allocate funds for repair and rehabilitation, and not require customers to take part in the reparations. If I had to buy something, I would probably look for another store to get my supplies. If a jeepney breaks down and needs some sort of fixing, the driver and/or operator would take it to a mechanic or fix it themselves, merely letting the passengers on their way to hitch for another ride. If some fluke would come, another jeep that is devoid of commuters would come along in the middle of a barren highway. Maybe that’s why, in my attempt at solicitations for Brigada Eskwela, I got the response of “doesn’t the government have funds for that?”. (or maybe I’m just bad at doing sales talk.) So, I guess he has a point there. Furthermore, do we all not significantly need access to worship, commerce and transport among other social functions, at the same sphere as education?

On the other hand, should we not appreciate the nobility and purity of spirit of altruism in the investment on the youth for social d development? The schools maintenance week concretizes the connection and community of family and other social functions to the school and its expansion. (Wait, I’m starting to sound like an endorser here.) If the citizenry is indeed a component of the state, if the public school is indeed for the public and of the public, if parents are associated with teachers in education, then parents ought to share in the responsibility of instituting a dependable physical environment for educational enrichment. After all, any form of learning will only efficiently launch in an advantageous atmosphere. Someone may say that this should be done. Some other person may say that this should not b done. Still, some people might say that there should be more of this, or less of this, or improve this or that. In a program like Brigada, aims and aspirations are activated to actual and authentic action. Such maintenance program also equalizes social strata in petitioning in respect within the perimeter of a participant’s capability. Is it not that form of assistance may be selected from given options, and contribution is “voluntary”?

In due respect of the righteous spirit of such call to bayanihan, is not maintenance of physical facilities the duty and responsibility of the administrators which in this case happens to be the Philippine government which by principle, ought to sustain its own improvement with the resources at its disposal, rather than take it from its very beneficiaries? Is not voluntary assistance or in other words, charity extended to the unfortunate and underprivileged? The state certainly would not fall in that category. On one hand, is it not a glorified form of enrollment fee; since pupils and students would not be officially enrolled without participating in this brigade?

Perhaps, this is what Filipino society needs – a jolt to actively take part in the improvement of the institution in which one shares, a push to participate , to take up arms towards advancement, an equitable effort to offer what is available in one’s hands, great or small. an inspiration for the whole community to set aside returns for personal gain and pursue the ideals of sacrifice to invest in resources that will last for generations. What other resource would sustain across time than in the education of the youth who would lead this nation. Perchance, other social institutions require to be rallied around for their respective advancements; and certainly it would also benefit the rest of society, but no institution has greater impact towards the future than capitalizing on education. “

“Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” Haggai 1:8

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