DepEd needs P1.6 billion to replace quake-cracked classrooms in Mindanao

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2019 09:04 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2019 09:19 AM

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The Department of Education said Monday it needed at least P1.6 billion to replace hundreds of classrooms damaged by a series of deadly quakes in Mindanao last month. 

The 3 October quakes destroyed 500 classrooms and caused "major damage" to 700 school rooms. It will take "more than a year" to build replacement buildings, each worth P2.5 million, which can withstand tremors and typhoons, said DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Nepomuceno Malaluan. 

The cost of damage, which excludes learning materials, is expected to rise as authorities continue assessing the quake damage, he told radio DZMM. 

"Ang priority dito sa mga areas na ito ay iyong continuation at the soonest ng ating pag-aaral. May mga ginagawa ang field offices, una d'yan ang pagkakaroon ng temporary learning facility in the areas kung saan kailangan," Malaluan said. 

(Our priority in these areas is the continuation at the soonest of classes. Our field offices are taking action, the first of which is building temporary learning facilities in ares where these are needed.) 

The DepEd has requested funds from the National Disaster Coordinating Committee under the Office of the President and is studying whether the agency's own budget can be used to repair damaged schools, Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said. 

"Sa tingin ko, baka kukulangin [ang DepEd budget] dahil there are more disasters than I...planned for... Sunod-sunod ang disasters natin, lalo na iyong series of earthquakes," she said. 

(I think the DepEd budget will not be enough because there are more disasters than I suppose planned for. Disasters came one after another, especially the series of earthquakes.) 

The 3 Mindanao quakes, whose magnitudes all measured above 6, left at least 29 dead and sent some 28,000 people to evacuation centers, said the national disaster agency. 

Aftershocks may continue to rattle Mindanao until December, state seismologists earlier said. Some local governments have declared a state of calamity to tap emergency funds. 

DZMM, November 4, 2019