DepEd to rebuild Marawi school buildings

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2017 11:13 PM | Updated as of Oct 25 2017 01:44 PM

MANILA - Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday said the agency plans to rebuild around 20 school buildings in Marawi after the city's liberation from Islamic State-inspired terrorists.

"The biggest challenge, of course, are the school buildings because in our estimate and from reports, there would be about 20 major school buildings which have been totally destroyed, so they will have to be rebuilt. And others will have to be repaired because we have nearly 60 school buildings in Marawi," Briones told ANC's Beyond Politics.

"The first thing we’ll do when we go back to Marawi, is we will hold the regular Brigada Eskwela but this will be especially for Marawi wherein we will invite the entire country to come over and help put together, fix, those buildings, which are still capable of being occupied while the totally destroyed ones will have to be rebuilt. One day ito," she added.

Briones said they have yet to fully assess the damage to school buildings because they need the military's approval on when it is safe to go inside Marawi.

The DepEd will use part of its calamity fund to rebuild and repair school infrastructures in the city, according to Briones.

"Nearly P2 billion na yung nakabinbin namin, which is waiting pa kami because we have to queue, so we suggested and both Houses are quite sympathetic to the idea that we use part our school building funds for calamity-related damage. This would range from P3-4 billion kasi na-accumulate eh," she said.

She said more than 27,000 Marawi children have been in school since June due to the DepEd's order to assimilate the evacuees in different schools nationwide and temporary school areas in evacuation centers.

"What we did was that we ordered, as of June, that they should be admitted into the schools with or without documentation. That they should be integrated, that care should be taken that there would be no bullying," she said.

"The biggest number of Marawi children are in Iligan and in Cagayan de Oro. The rest are scattered all over the country. Even as the conflict is going on, most of them are in school," she said.

Briones said the agency's arm in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has found the teachers who evacuated from the conflict-stricken city.

“I think we can also imagine that there will be those who will stay where they are because many of them have found jobs and livelihood,” she said.

Briones said teachers and students have also received psycho-social assistance from the department.

"Aside from schooling, the first thing we attend to is the psycho-social systems because you can imagine what a horrible experience it is for children, and even for grown-ups," she said.

"So they can settle into a sense of normalcy. I was really very anxious that they be in school so they will feel there is continuity in their lives in spite of all the gulo and all the fear and the terror," she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week declared the city's "liberation" from terrorists following the killing of terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in the 5-month siege of Marawi. Tens of thousands of residents have also been displaced.