The Department of Education (DepEd) kicked off its annual school maintenance week—known as the “Brigada Eskwela”—in various schools nationwide. Brigada sa Eskwela also known as "Bayanihan Para sa paaralan" is a nationwide voluntary effort brings together school officials, parents, students, and private organizations in an effort to clean and repair schools, in time for enrollment the following week and the start of classes on June 2.
This week-long event began in 2003 as part of the Oplan Balik Eskwela Program and National Maintenance Week of the Department of Education (DepEd). It encourages volunteers give out their time, effort, and even donate materials such as paint, cement, lumber and other materials, which could be used for minor repairs and building. Donations from local corporations and businesses are given in kind.
Minor repairs are usually done before the opening of classes. Maintenance work such as the repainting of the roof and exterior walls, repair of leaking water pipes, ceiling boards, broken furniture and windows, cleaning of toilets, and gardening are done by volunteers with the help of donations in kind from non-government organizations and corporations.
As early as February, school heads recruit volunteers who would participate in the brigade, by March, they would approach local businesses for donations, then organize work groups by April. It is usually held two weeks prior to every year's opening of classes.
Lucena City National High School is now having The brigada Eskwela and some of its volunteers are from: The Different Schools and Student Organizations of Lucena City National High School; The Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Supreme Student Government, Youth for the Environment Schools Organization (YES-O) and the community Volunteers; the Provincial Government of Quezon Province, Vice Governor Sam Nantes, City Govrnment of Lucena City in the Leadership of City Mayor and Boy Scouts of the Philippines-Lucena City Council Chairman Roderick Alcala,The Barangay Captains of Barangay Ibabang Dupay, Ilayang Dupay, Mayao Crossing and Kanlurang mayao,The medical support from Student Volunteers of St. Agustine school of Nursing and Datamex School of Computer leanings, The Provincial Police- Quezon Philippine National Police - Police Community Relations Branch, The Philppine National Red Cross Quezon-Lucena Chapter Service Representative for Disaster Management and Safety Jowell G. Trinidad, discussed to the volunteers the Importance of Ensuring Disaster Preparedness and Safety in Schools.
It is expected that more volunteers will be joining this coming days to help out and be a part of this activity.
Aside from promoting the spirit of volunteerism, since its launch, public schools have benefited in terms of their Community Maintenance and Operating Expenses (MOOE).
2003: 12,000 public schools (30% of all schools)
P392 million of community MOOE.
2004: 16,000 schools (38% of all schools)
P717.1 million community MOOE.
2005: 26,000 schools (62% of all schools)
Over P1 Billion community MOOE.
The brigade has saved the government the amount of P153.16 million in donations, services, and volunteer hours and in 2008, it saved the government about P2.9 billion.