First day of school ‘peaceful, orderly’
HIGH police visibility ensured that the first day of classes in public schools yesterday was peaceful and orderly in Cebu City, police officials said.
Traffic was moderate, except in areas near public schools.
Pre-class cleanup activities in the Brigada Eskwela program also helped ensure that the opening day was successful, education officials said.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama reminded schools about the need for safety measures and fire exits.
He warned students to be careful with their money and to be on guard against snatching, theft
To the schools, he said: “Don’t shortchange students.”
Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Schools Superintendent Danilo Gudelasao said they have
not received complaints about the lack of chairs or classrooms so far.
There is also no shortage of teachers, he added.
“We encouraged the school heads to tell us what happened (on the first day). So far, we haven’t
received feedback that there’s a lack of rooms and chairs,” he said.
A minor problem was that some parents enrolled their children only yesterday. Enrollment for
this school year started in January yet.
He assured that latecomers will still be accommodated.
Senior Supt. Mariano Batiancela Jr., acting Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) chief, noted only
minor problems, like traffic congestion near public schools.
Traffic enforcers were, however, on hand to ease the congestion. Students were also encouraged
to use the skywalk so as not to disrupt traffic flow, he said.
Joy Tumulak, operations chief of the Cebu City Traffic Operations and Management (Citom), said
traffic was moderate yesterday.
“As expected, we really saw the problem with dropping off and picking up of students along the
roads. But in general, it was normal,” he said.
Heavier traffic is expected next week, when most private schools resume classes, Tumulak said.
He reminded schools to designate an area inside the campus as drop-off and pick-up points.
As of yesterday, only the public schools in Banilad and Talamban complied with Citom’s request.
Tumulak said Citom supervisors have been directed to inspect all public schools and recommend a
drop-off area in each school.
If schools need railings to ensure smooth traffic, Tumulak said Citom could lend some on a
first-come-first-served basis. Schools will have to send a formal request.
Some police personnel went out of their way to entertain the school children.
At the Don Carlos A. Gothong Memorial High School in Barangay San Nicolas Proper, operatives
from Police Station 6 and five street children dressed in police uniforms danced in front of the
Jan-jan Abesia, 11, one of the five street children, said he wants to be a policeman when he
Senior Inspector Chuck Barandog, Police Station 6 chief, said the street children sleep beside
the fire and police stations in Sawang Calero.
He vowed to look for sponsors who can send the five children, three boys and two girls aged 9 to
12, to school.
In Lahug, police distributed pamphlets providing safety tips to students and parents.
Chief Inspector Enrique Belciña, chief of Police Community Relations, led the distribution in
front of the Lahug Elementary School.
In Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities, police noted no major problems. Traffic, however, was bumper-
to-bumper near schools.
The Mandaue City Police Office deployed around 80 personnel to provide assistance and security
in 40 schools.
Other personnel were deployed in the port area and public transport terminals to assist students
arriving from the countrysides.
Mandaue City Central School, the biggest public elementary school in Mandaue, has a student
population of 4,101 as of yesterday. The number is expected to increase.
“We will not refuse anyone who wishes to enroll. We encourage the children to enroll because
education is for all,” said school principal Giovana Rafiñan.
Reina Perez, principal of the Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School, said the first
day was orderly. Some students, however, had difficulty finding their names and classrooms at
The school, located along a busy road, has about 2,500 students.
Perez hoped the city government would deploy a traffic aide in the area to assist the students
crossing the street. An option is to build a skyway in front of the school, she added.
In Lapu-Lapu, police deployed 140 personnel to 60 schools.
Senior Inspector Mercedarious Balabat, deputy chief of operations of Lapu-Lapu City Police
Office, said they also deployed personnel in port areas and public transport terminals.
Both students and parents were excited over the start of a new school year.
“We’re going to be in high school,” Grade 7 students Louise Pundar, Don Carlo Gavion and Peaen
The boys arrived at 6 a.m. in Abellana National School yesterday. They crowded around the
whiteboard, where their schedules and sections were posted.
They laughed when they found out they were going to be classmates. They also laughed about being
At Guadalupe Elementary School, Evelyn Parrientos waited patiently for her two children who
attended the first day of classes.
It was the first day of school for the younger of the two, who began Kindergarten yesterday. The
older child is in Grade 4.
“It’s the first day so I’m a little worried,” Parrientos said in Cebuano.
Sharing the waiting shed with her was Lisa Indig, who was curious about the K-12 program. One
child is in Grade 6 in Guadalupe while two are in Grade 7 at the adjacent Ramon Duterte Memorial
“It might be harder to prepare them for the new subjects,” she said. /Jose Santino S. Bunachita,
Chito O. Aragon, Norman V. Mendoza, Nestle L. Semilla and ADMU Intern Shaneika Edryce T. Lim
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