Over 1.4 million students in the region will go back to school today.
Data from the Department of Education (DepEd) show there are 1.429 million students enrolled in this school year: 1,233,797 in the public schools and 195,930 in private schools.
DepEd recorded a total of 123,324 first-time schoolers. There are 110,062 kindergarten pupils in the public schools and 13,262 in private schools.
In the public schools, there are 618,613 elementary pupils, 397,378 junior high school students and 107,940 senior high school students.
In the private schools, there are 52,737 grade 1 to grade 6 students, 65,493 grade 7 to grade 10 students and 64,438 grade 11 and grade 12 students.
The region has around 3,270 public and private schools.
The Police Regional Office said the security measure is already in place to secure the students and the schools.
Major Jason Baria, PRO XI spokesperson, said 2,751 police officers have been deployed in all school campuses in the region to conduct mobile and foot patrols along major routes leading to all learning institutions and within the immediate vicinity of the schools.
Brig. Gen. Marcelo Morales, the police regional director, has directed the city and provincial commanders to establish a Police Assistance Desk (PADs) at schools, airport, seaport, transport terminals, malls, and other areas of convergence to provide public safety and security coverage.
Likewise, in coordination with school officials, the police will also conduct police visibility operations at school premises to prevent cases of bullying among students during the opening of classes.
The police will also coordinate with the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) and other concerned government agencies to ensure the strict implementation on the prohibition of overloading of public utility vehicles to ensure the safety of the students.
Nevertheless, Morales assured the public that its basic police duties and responsibilities in the maintenance of peace and order and other public safety services will not be compromised.
The police director also cautioned the students to be wary of strangers and to refrain from talking to them, to avoid using cellular phones and texting while in the streets.
“I encourage the public, especially the students, to report any incidents of bullying or other street crimes to policeman assigned at PADs or through our police hotlines or Facebook Page – Pulis Rehiyon Onse or through dialing 911,” he said.
By Julianne A. Suarez and Rhoda Grace B. Saron