MANILA, Philippines - Schools are preparing not only for thousands of students going back to school this week, but also for the expected downpour and floods that come along with the rainy season.
At the flood-prone University Belt in Manila, workers are rushing to finish a long stretch of Espana Avenue, particularly along the University of Santos Tomas where the road has been elevated.
Typically, continuous rain would have water reaching knee-high, making it difficult for vehicles to pass through, while leaving commuters stranded.
The road repair however, has irritated motorists who said work being done has aggravated the traffic situation. They said the timing is completely wrong because construction should have started in the summer, not during the onset of the rainy season.
Establishments in the area are also grumbling. They said that all the excavation work has affected their businesses, their clients have stopped coming to the area for fear of being caught in the traffic.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said the road work started last April but work was delayed due to lack of funds. The agency said however, that they intend to finish the project in a few weeks time.
In nearby Sta. Ana, Pampanga, student volunteers and teachers are working to have their school, the San Agustin Elementary Public School, ready for school opening.
The school was heavily damaged by killer typhoon Ondoy last year.
Both students and teachers are still cleaning the school rooms and grounds.
With the help of ABS-CBN Channel 46 and other donors, the school has been repainted, while the school gate and entrance have been cemented, with sandbags stacked up in front to prevent flooding.