The Israeli Embassy once again took part in Brigada Eskwela, a national program by the Philippines’ Department of Education that aims to ensure all public schools in the country are in good condition before the school year starts in June.
A Modern Version of ‘Bayanihan’
Brigada Eskwela is an annual school maintenance program in the Philippines and is the government’s modern version of “bayanihan”, which involves different sectors contributing to make sure schools are safe, clean, and conducive to learning before the start of the school year.
This year’s program is different, as it went beyond preparing schools for the re-opening of classes, but also involved programs supporting full implementation of the country’s K to 12 program.
A Helping Hand on the Refurbishment of Schools
Effie Ben Matityau, Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines, led the embassy in the program and personally helped in the repair of chairs, cementing of footpaths and drains, as well as in the re-painting of blackboards, roofs, ceilings, and walls. The embassy also donated materials for the repair and refurbishment of the schools.
In addition, Matityau, together with the embassy officials, conducted a forum on the responsibility of students in obtaining a good education, urging the pupils to never neglect their “ticket to education”, which he also said is their “ticket to life.”
Stronger Historic and Spiritual Ties
The Israeli Embassy’s participation in this year’s Brigada Eskwela was partly to commemorate the rescue of thousands of Jewish people during the Holocaust in World War II. During that time, the Philippines, under the rule of then president Manuel L. Quezon, opened its doors to Jewish refugees and gave them visas when they had nowhere else to go.
Now it seems Israel is not stopping in their quest to give back to the Philippines. Not only are they supporting Brigada Eskwela, but they have also implemented programs that aim to improve the quality of education in the country—solid proof of the strong Philippine-Israeli friendship.