MANILA, Philippines - Public schools, which are being used as evacuation centers, should also be entitled to calamity funds, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara said.
In a statement, the chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education said public schools are left with utility bills to pay, trash to be collected, and rooms and toilets to be cleaned when evacuees leave.
“In some cases, there are unintentional damages caused, minor ones though, like broken chairs or misplaced books, which can’t be avoided due to the emergency nature of their taking refuge,” he said.
He noted public schools are forced to use their measly maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds, estimated at around P230 per student per year.
“That’s about one peso per student per school day. And money for water, electricity, test materials, the salary of security guard, supplies and all other operational expenses is taken from the MOOE fund,” he noted.
Sometimes, teachers have to take money out of their own pocket, he noted.
He said the government can help by reimbursing public schools of “unforeseen expenses,” which can be drawn from the calamity fund, which has a budget of P7.5 billion this year.
He said local governments can also assist.
Since schools also lack or don’t have janitors, the clean up of the campus ultimately falls into the hands of the students. “The big mess is usually left to little children to clean,” Angara said.