The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said it there would be no extension of the enrollment period in public schools as it reported over 21.2 million enrollees so far for the coming school year. Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) activated its security plan to ensure the safe reopening of classes next week for school year 2022-2023.
DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said the deadline for enrollment in public schools is still on Aug. 22, also the first day of classes.
“For now, we have not talked about giving an extension for the enrollment period,” Poa said in a press briefing on national television.
As of Tuesday morning, a total of 21,272,820 learners have enrolled in basic education for school year 2022-2023, according to the DepEd data.
The figure is still around seven million short of the DepEd’s target of 28.6 million students, 18.7 million of whom are enrolled in public schools while 2.4 million are in private schools. Some 71,900 students will be attending state and local universities and colleges offering basic education.
Calabarzon led the regions with the most enrollees at three million, followed by Central Luzon with 2.3 million, and the National Capital Region with 2.2 million, the DepEd figures showed.
Other regions that logged over one million enrollees included Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Davao Region.
Poa said enrollment was a “major concern” among those who reached out to the DepEd’s Public Assistance Command Center which was launched on Monday.
“Most of the concerns on enrollment are about the procedure in transferring from private to public schools, so we just inform our callers about what they should do and the procedures in transferring,” Poa said.
In a statement, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said under the operational guidelines of the “Ligtas Balik-Eskwela SY 2022-2023”, the police will intensify law enforcement schools, transportation hubs, and other places of convergence to protect the students, the guardians and the teachers from crime incidents such as physical assaults, robbery, and theft.
“The influx of individuals during in-person classes is also expected, thus, PNP COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) patrollers will also be deployed to ensure that the minimum public health standards (MPHS) such as observing physical distance, proper and frequent hand-washing, and wearing face masks shall remain implemented, especially in places or regions with high-risk classifications,” Azurin said.
He said all unit commanders are directed to coordinate and participate in meetings with school authorities, as well as with parents and teachers’ associations (PTA) to carry out public safety services, such as drug abuse prevention, information drives, and other necessary anti-criminality programs.
Police stations are also directed to conduct mobile and foot patrols along major routes and highways leading to all learning institutions and within the immediate vicinity of school premises to monitor and evaluate the daily activities and prevent outsiders from luring students into engaging in vices and illegal activities.
Police stations are likewise instructed to coordinate with local government units regarding the strict implementation of the zoning ordinance within school zones that prohibit the operation of video game shops, billiards establishments, and other amusement facilities within the immediate vicinity of schools, particularly in Manila’s University Belt area.
Police Assistance Desks (PADs) near the entrances of school campuses nationwide in coordination with the DepEd officials will also be established to ensure the safety and security of the children, employees, visitors, and tourists visiting schools through Tourist Police Units.
Meanwhile, Azurin said the PNP will also deploy police officers to join Brigada Eskwela activities and hold simulation exercises (SIMEX) in coordination with school authorities to train students, teachers,
and other personnel on the proper response to incidents such as fire, bomb threats, earthquake, and other emergency scenarios.
“The public can expect peace and order through the program “MKK=K” (Concern, Orderly, Peace to Development) with the help of KASIMBAYANAN, which I launched. The PNP will continue to serve not only as guards and maintainer of peace and order in the community, but as an organization that helps our countrymen and vulnerable sectors of our community, including our beloved youth, at any time and season,” Azurin said.