MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) has asked for more funds to respond to recent calamities, an official said Tuesday, following the onslaught of Tropical Storm Agaton, which killed at least 7 students.
In an online briefing, DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service Director Ronilda Co reported that Agaton left 7 students dead in the Eastern Visayas region, which experienced landslides and floods triggered by rains dumped by the storm.
One learner and 3 personnel were also injured during the storm, all coming from the Visayas, Co said.
Overall, the death toll from landslides and massive flooding caused by Agaton has reached 172, based on the latest report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The storm, the first to enter the Philippines this year, "affected" over 4.8 million learners in the regions of Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Caraga, according to Co's presentation.
Co said Secretary Leonor Briones has asked the Department of Budget and Management for additional funding in order to respond to the needs of those affected by Agaton, the eruption of Taal Volcano in March, and Typhoon Odette last December.
"Sa totoo lang, doon pa lang sa Odette last year, 'yong ating disaster preparedness and response program na funds... ay ubos na," she said, mentioning the strongest storm to strike the Philippines in 2021.
(The truth is, we've already used up the funds for our disaster preparedness and response program following Odette last year.)
"Ang hinihingi natin ay P520 million para masagot natin 'yong temporary learning spaces na pangangailangan at doon pa sa nasira na puwedeng i-minor repair," she said.
(What we're asking is P520 million so we can put up temporary learning spaces and other things that can undergo minor repair.)
In the case of Agaton, the DepEd estimated the cost of infrastructure repair and reconstruction at P308 million, according to Co's presentation.
The cost of replacement for non-infrastructure damage, which includes computer sets and learning materials, is at P567 million.