DIRECTOR’S Cut: (This portion features the thoughts of DepED 11 Regional Director Susana Teresa B. Estigoy, Ceso IV to all stakeholders and recipients of the efforts to improve the basic education) I do not consider my job as plain work --- rather it is my LIFE. “We have to continually examine what succeeds and fails, and why. We have to uphold and live true to our battlecry and DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus’ slogan of governance: “Edukasyon ang Solusyon”

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

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Sun.Star’s Network news reported that the parents of student-journalists who will participate in this year’s National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) are urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to transfer the venue of the event away from Mindanao citing security concerns.

In the same story published last week, it mentioned that one of the parents who declined to be named said he would not allow his son, a second year student in the National Capital Region (NCR) who won the regional elimination in news writing last year, to attend the NSPC.

The parent said that they are worried for their children that the NSPC will be held there -- anyone would be worried too because of what happened adding that DepEd should move the venue to a 'safer' place in Luzon or the Visayas to assuage their concerns.

He said the DepEd should ensure that all the concerns, especially about security should be fully addressed before they will allow their children to participate.

The parent said they are just being careful, adding that his concern is also shared by other parents of campus journalists he has talked to in recent days.

In a timely turn of events, the City Government of Tagum in a meeting presided by Vice Mayor Allan L. Rellon during the City’s Peace and Order Council (CPOC) meeting on January 8, 2010 agreed that they would make a stand that security measures will not be taken lightly.

In a press release published in local dailies including this paper and in the DepEd Central Office official website based in Pasig City, it emphasized Tagum City’s reputation as a peaceful and child-friendly city as conferred by the Office of the President and later recognized again by the DILG Regional Office XI under the leadership of Director Quirino Libunao. The City Government of Tagum regularly convenes the Peace and Order Council to coordinate closely with the participating agencies in assessing the city’s security.

The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) declared Tagum as the 7th Most Competitive Medium-Sized Cities of the Philippines. As home of Festivals and City of Parks, the Department of Tourism has also declared Tagum as the Palm City of the Philippines and the Music Capital of the South. It has also won the national award as the Best Literacy Program Implementor for Component City Category.

DepEd Tagum City Division Superintendent Nenita Lumaad also asked the AFP and PNP to make a security statement to ensure the safety of the public particularly the delegates on the upcoming nationwide event.

City’s Chief of Police PCI Giusseppe Geralde assured that Tagum is the safest place to live while Army Captain Eddie Valde of 1003rd Brigade also assured the Council that their Battalion has continuously monitored the areas for the students’ guided tour in the eco-tourism park of Davao del Norte. Army Reservists from 1102 RCDG Command Center have also expressed their commitment in rendering their services to protect the reputation of Davao Province as a peaceful community.

City Mayor of Tagum Rey T. Uy has established five Police sub-stations constructed in strategic places in the entry and exit points of the city and also purchased a couple of bomb sniffing dogs under the care of Tagum’s Swat Team. In guarding terminal areas, monitoring devices like CCTV cameras have been installed all over the transport vicinity.

Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario has attached his assuring letter to the DepEd Committee that all participating students and coaches of NSPC are guaranteed safe in the province.

City Councilor Alan Zulueta said that Tagum is an insurgent-free area so he asked the tri-media to help them disseminate that they are ready for the NSPC.

In the final Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on January 12-13, 2010 attended by Dr. Lolita M. Andrada and Dr. Yolanda Quijano, bureau chiefs of BSE and BEE and Chair and Co-chair of NSPC 2010 respectively, the group finally agreed that Tagum City will be the host of the NSPC on February 22-26, 2010.

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You can access DepEd Updates, latest issuances and other relevant information through our website: http://www.region11.deped.gov.ph. For comments, suggestions and/or contributions, email me at renzthescribe@gmail.com. or visit http://renzmendoza.multiply.com. for photos and other relevant information. For queries, complains and other concerns, call DepED Region 11 at (082) 227-9342 or fax to (082) 227-1102.

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Mr. Lorenzo E. Mendoza, M.A. is the Regional Supervisor in Filipino for Secondary, Regional Information Officer, Regional ICT and Library Hub Coordinator.