From the Philippine News Agency (May 11): Westmincom gears up for ‘Brigada Eskwela’ and ‘Brigada Masjid’
The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) is preparing to launch a series of activities to support the Department of Education(DepEd) and Muslim communities, including areas affected by armed conflict.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, on Thursday said the different military units will assist the public schools in the conduct of the “2017 Brigada Eskwela” in preparation for the opening of school year 2017-2018.
The Brigada Eskwela aims to foster the spirit of “bayanihan” (cooperation) among stakeholders to make schools conducive and comfortable for the learning of students.
“The armed forces wish to extend assistance to educational institutions and encourage the Filipino youth to value literacy. We believe that this is one of the solutions to extremism in conflict-affected areas, where there is a large number of out-of-school youths who become combatants,” Galvez said.
The participation of the military in the Brigada Eskwela has become a traditional practice. Every year, soldiers in all areas of the country coordinate and work together with the DepEd, teachers, school administrators and parents in cleaning and repairing classrooms.
The joint endeavor serves as a venue for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to reach out and give service to the next generation of leaders that will take different roles in the future.
For 2017, Galvez specifically directed all units under his command to implement another important activity that he hopes will become integral in all AFP units.
Galvez said the “Brigada Masjid,” which will be launched next week and before the Ramadan season starts, will be recommended to be institutionalized among military units nationwide.
Just like the “Brigada Eskwela” concept, Galvez said “the new endeavor intends to utilize military units to assist our Muslim brothers in cleaning and repairing mosques (masjid) in their respective areas to prepare for the upcoming Ramadan season.”
He noted that the 4th Special Forces Battalion and the 104th Infantry Brigade “have received positive response from the Muslim community they are serving” when they initiated and implemented the Brigada Masjid. The two military units are based in Basilan province.
“This year, we want to implement both the Brigada Eskwela and Brigada Masjid in a wider scale. We will launch the activity and conduct it within Western Mindanao,” he said.
“We hope that our brothers will give the soldiers of Westmincom a chance to become part of this religious celebration. We can see that Brigada Masjid is a very good venue to promote cultural understanding and harmony,” he added.