Schools Division of Santa Rosa City hosted the regional launching of the Oplan Kalusugan sa Department of Education (OK sa DepEd) in response to the implementation of the Bureau of Learner Support Services’ (BLSS) several health and nutrition programs, plans and policies which aims to improve school attendance, health and academic performance of learners in DepEd Region IV-A (CALABARZON) at Pulong Sta. Cruz Elementary School and Pulong Sta. Cruz National High School,  July 18.

OK sa DepEd is a convergence of DepEd’s major health programs such as the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP), National Drug Education Program (NDEP), Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Education, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools (WinS), and Medical, Dental, and Nursing Services which cater not only the learners but also the school personnel.

Dr. Felicitas Come-Ducusin, Consultant, Office of the Undersecretary for Administration and the guest speaker of the event said, “We are very lucky because we now have our own health program in DepEd na sarili natin talaga at hindi initiated ng DOH (Department of Health).”

This, she explained, would spare the DepEd to another health-related negligence among learners such as the controversial school-based dengue vaccination program commonly known as “dengvaxia” initiated by DOH.

Moreover, she added that the advocacy ‘promotes interlinkages among stakeholders’ which will make the realization of the program faster and more possible.

On the other hand, DepEd Region IV-A (CALABARZON) Regional Director Diosdado M. San Antonio expressed his gratitude for finally coming up with an integrated advocacy for health in the Department of Education/

“Hindi talaga pwede na ang mga bata ay magagaling lang mag-isip o magagaling lang tayong mag-execute ng mga plans kung hindi tayo malusog kaya kailangang mabigyan pansin ang kalusugan,” San Antonio said.

Dr. San Antonio also added that the realization of the said program would help every school in the region lessen dropout rates, absenteeism, as well as the improvement of the completion and achievement levels of schools.

Furthermore, highlights of the event included the overview of the OK sa DePEd program presented by Dr. Pearl Oliveth Intia, Medical Officer IV of DepEd CALABARZON.

Santa Rosa Elementary School Central III with their rendition of the Panatang Makangipin and Santa Rosa Science and Technology High School with their short film presentation also emphasized the importance of dental care among the participants. This is further supported by the puppet show on dental health sponsored by Colgate, one of the partners of DepEd CALABARZON in the implementation of OK sa DepEd.

A simultaneous deworming of the participants from the Regional Office headed by Dr. San Antonio was also conducted. Participants from the different schools divisions and program implementers followed as a sign of support to the program.

The simultaneous delivery of services in the afternoon which was an equally important part of the event such as dental, medical and nursing services as well as the feeding, deworming, handwashing and tooth brushing drills, and the NDEP and ARH lectures were cancelled due to the suspension of classes caused by bad weather condition.

The said event was participated by Regional Office headed by Dr. San Antonio, Schools Division Superintendents (SDS), School Governance & Operations Division (SGOD) Chiefs, Medical Officers, Dentists, school Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP) Coordinators and School Heads and other education stakeholders.

Santa Rosa City Mayor Danilo Ramon S. Fernandez and Cong. Arlene B. Arcillas of Laguna 1st District, were also present during the event. Mayor Fernandez promised to extend the services of the City Government to support the DepEd program. (Crisel Joy Sambrano, Teacher 1, Balibago National High School)