Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Classes resume for 1.5M students in Bicol despite damaged schoolbuildings due to 'Nina'
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 3 (PNA) -- A ranking official of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Bicol said classes of around 1.5 million students in public elementary and high schools in the region have resumed today despite the heavy damage suffered by schoolbuildings in major parts of Bicol due to the onslaught of typhoon Nina.

Roy Bañas, information officer of DepEd-Bicol, said classes have resumed today for 1,576,345 students from kindergarten to senior high schools despite the havoc wrought by typhoon Nina on their school buildings, especially in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay and some other parts of the Bicol region which were badly hit by the typhoon.

“It is our mandate to resume classes as it was scheduled long before the Yuletide vacation,” he said.

Bañas, however, said even if classes have resumed on Tuesday DepEd Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede gave leeway to all local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils for localized suspension of classes.

“This is to give more time to the community to clean and have minor repairs in their schools,” Abcede said.

He ordered all DepEd personnel in the affected areas to conduct emergency school maintenance or an early “Brigada Eskwela,” the clean-up campaign involving members of the community that is usually held before the start of the schoolyear.

Most classes in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur and some parts of Albay were scheduled to open on January 9.

Bañas said reports received by DepEd-Bicol showed that as of January 1, there were 625 classrooms which were reported totally damaged or in need of replacement in 3,827 public schools from elementary to senior high school in the Bicol region. The damage was estimated at Php750 million.

He said there were 1,082 classrooms in the region, which were partially damaged and in need of major repairs, estimated cost of which is Php378 million.

Bañas added that there were 988 classrooms, which were partially damaged and in need of minor repairs, the cost of which will amount to Php14.82 million.

He said Camarines Sur recorded the biggest number of totally damaged classrooms that are in need of major repairs at 301, estimated cost of which is Php361.2 million.

Albay has 186 totally damaged classrooms whose cost of major repairs will reach Php223.2 million; Ligao City Division—35 at Php42 million; Sorsogon City-26 at Php27.6 million; Iriga City Division-23 at Php26.4 million; and Tabaco City Division-22 at Php26.4 million.

Bañas said DepEd Secretary Leonor M. Briones has ordered construction of TLS or temporary learning spaces made of light materials in all affected areas so the schoolchildren could go back to their normal lives in schools. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD