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After the quake: Nabuclod’s Aeta school copes with the damage

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2019 09:17 PM

The earthquake that shook Pampanga province on April 22 destroyed several structures, including a local mall. Eighteen people were killed, and many residents in the municipalities of Porac and Floridablanca were displaced. 

One of the barangays hit by the quake was Brgy. Nabuclod which many of the ethnic Aetas call home. Located here is the Nabuclod Integrated School, where children from Aeta communities, both near and far, attend. 

Last year, the school had some 500 students, and a new building intended for incoming 7th and 8th graders was being built to address their needs. But when the earthquake struck, it not only set back the construction but also destroyed nine of the 11 existing classrooms. 

Now, the teachers will have to share the remaining classrooms and teach in shifts to be able to accommodate all 500 students.

With just days before the opening of the 2019 school year, many children will be studying between buildings with cracked ceilings and walls that shake as vehicles pass by. 

With the school buildings no longer structurally sound, a demolition and rebuilding is necessary. For now, they will have to learn their lessons in unsafe grounds. 

An Aeta parent volunteer does her part in helping the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga get ready for the coming first day of school. On April 22, an earthquake heavily damaged the school, leaving it with only two structurally safe rooms for 500 students. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A woman walks past a building that sustained major damage, evidenced by the cracks along its walls. Due to the structural damage, the building must be demolished and rebuilt at a flatter part of the area so the buildings would be less susceptible to strong tremors. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Nabuclod Barangay Captain Anita Casupanan, on May 27, shows one of the rooms damaged by the quake. No longer able to function as a classroom, it has been turned into a storage area for school chairs that can still be used by the students. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Earthquake evacuees gather water from a tank at an evacuation area near the Nabuclod Integrated School. The local school board is set to use a portion of the site as temporary classrooms due to the shortage of structurally safe classrooms. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Casupanan walks by a school building intended for incoming 7th and 8th graders still being constructed beside the quake-damaged Nabuclod Integrated School. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Casupanan stands near a tractor parked at the Nabuclod Integrated School on May 27. The local offices of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have decided to demolish the existing school buildings. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Preschool teacher Ms Girlie walks beside the site of the on-going construction as she inspects school grounds. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Ms Girlie inspects a large crack at her pre-school room at the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga on May 27, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A teacher removes window curtains from one of the condemned classrooms as various objects are stored inside. The classroom can now only hold school materials after it was turned into a storage area. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Aeta parent-volunteers help arrange furniture and other school materials at one of the remaining two classrooms of Nabuclod Integrated School. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News