Delivered by Punong Barangay Romulo P. Echavez, Jr.

On the Occasion of MCSHS’ Stakeholders’ Summit

Picture this: 168 arm chairs with 168 unused school bags. Not a soul sits on them. The chairs are neatly lined up, classroom-type, facing a board. No teacher, no students, just the sun and the sky over them. This is exactly what, according to the UNICEF, many schools across countries look like. Each arm chair represents 1 million learners who have, in one way or another, and at some point during the pandemic has faced academic turbulence. As of March 2021, educational institutions around the world eerily come close to the Pandemic Classroom, an exhibit put up in the United Nations in New York City to remind the world of the 168 million learners who have fell behind and are in danger of falling even further behind because of the interruptions caused by COVID-19 globally.

Recently, the Commission on Higher Education has announced what we have seen coming– there is no going back to traditional face-to-face classes. CHED has braced us for a new normal in education– flexible learning, a combination of modular, virtual, and some form of limited face-to-face learning in the years to come.

At the rate vaccination is going, it will take a year or two, given that there are no glitches in the roll-out, for the Filipino to attain the Holy Grail it would seem of many nations– herd immunity. Our dream of Edukalidad relies on “Ligtas na Bakuna Para sa Balik-Eskwela” and attaining higher rates of vaccination over the next months in order to protect the most vulnerable in our society. These include the millions of learners across the archipelago who by now should be sitting on their arm chairs or books, interacting with their school mates, and learning from their teachers face-to-face.

Barangay Ibabao-Estancia has always been “Sama-sama sa pagsulong sa Edukalidad” with Mandaue City Science High School. We wish to reiterate that commitment so we can give our learners the educational experience that will turn them into nation-builders. From providing practical and logistical support, to informing policy and guidance, to bringing the human resources of the barangay to bear, Barangay Ibabao-Estancia is fully committed to helping MCSHS “address the challenge of quality in basic education”.

Barangay Ibabao-Estancia wishes to address this show of solidarity not just to the faculty and staff of the school, but most especially to its learners and their families. You, dear stakeholders, are the reason why we put our acts together; why we think night and day to address the academic hurdles we are facing. The year of Pandemic Classrooms has been tough and there seems to be no letup in sight just yet. This is why we should continue reminding ourselves of this common fight; not just the other 1 million learners in the next arm chair, but the next student, classmate, schoolmate, neighbor, and friend. To the young people of MCSHS, I appeal to you to reach out to each other and share a cautious optimism. Encourage one another. Tell each other to take heart. For the families, hold fast. No one is letting go. Barangay Ibabao-Estancia will choose to stay with you, your young people, and Mandaue City Science High School. Let us remain with the 168 million learners around the world, and together we shall overcome!


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