To ensure a smooth and organized school opening on June 3, the Department of Education (DepEd) is again launching the Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) Information and Action Center Task Force (IAC).
The OBE-IAC will provide helpful information, handle complaints and serve as a routing mechanism to students, parents, and teachers nationwide. It will be open from May 27 to June 7, including Saturday and Sunday, from 7am-6pm, at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. “Every school year, we implement Oplan Balik Eskwela to facilitate an orderly school opening. But beyond that, OBE is part of our commitment to Education For All (EFA) goals.,” DepEd Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC said.
Luistro added that the department has been serious in addressing the problems in basic education, having already addressed the gaps in some of the learning resources such as school seats and textbooks where zero backlogs have already been achieved. Shortages in classrooms, teachers, and water and sanitation facilities will also be addressed before the year ends.
OBE is also an inter-agency effort. Other government agencies involved in school opening matters will compose the Oplan Balik Eskwela-Inter-Agency Task Force (OBE-IATF). Member agencies are: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of National Defense (DND) Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Energy (DOE), Philippine National Police (PNP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services and Administration (PAGASA). Private corporations involved in the delivery of services for the education sector such as Manila Water, Maynilad, MWSS, and MERALCO are also part of the task force.
Luistro encourages the active involvement from the different DepEd field offices. Specifically, the regional directors and schools division superintendents will also have their own command centers not only to ensure for the smooth opening of classes but more importantly, to encourage parents and communities to bring school-aged children to public elementary and secondary schools.
Likewise, all regional directors and school division superintendents are directed to designate from their senior staff at least two action officers who will oversee regional and local concerns and coordinate these concerns with the central office.
Local IACs will set-up hotlines to receive calls, text and fax messages, and e-mails on complaints, requests and suggestions and a help desk to accommodate walk-in concerns.