MANILA - An estimated P3.37 billion pesos will be needed to repair more than 2,000 classrooms that were damaged during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette, the Department of Education said Monday.
The storm totally wrecked 1,086 classrooms, while 1,316 sustained damage, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said at President Rodrigo Duterte's Talk to the People public briefing that aired Tuesday.
Briones said the DepEd will probably use part of its 2022 budget to fund the rehabilitation and repair efforts.
"We knew this storm was coming," she said. "This happens every year, ever since I was a child. So, therefore, we know what to expect and what to anticipate."
Briones said more than P230 million pesos in DepEd's savings could be used as a Quick Response Fund to aid affected regions.
According to her, Odette affected 12,029,272 students in 11 regions. The hardest-hit regions were CARAGA, Regions 4-B, 6, 7, and 8.
In addition, 656 public schools were being used as evacuation centers.
Briones said DepEd has been working with more than 200 partners from the public and private sectors, as well as religious groups for donations, encouraging them to extend in-kind donations.
"We survived two world wars, insurrections, revolutions, volcanic eruptions, floods, and all that, and schools continued to open," she said. "And this 'Odette' will not stop us from continuing."
Meanwhile, Briones said the DepEd will continue to expand the holding of face-to-face classes. She said there were no serious incidents of COVID-19 infections in schools that took part in the pilot implementation of in-person classes.
Kindergarten to Grade 3 and senior high school students in 287 schools participated in the pilot phase of in-person classes.
DepEd Planning Service Director Roger Masapol previously told ABS-CBN News that hundreds of other schools have already qualified and may start by January for the expanded implementation.