P2B needed to rebuild 29 ‘totally damaged’ Marawi schools
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) estimated that around P2 billion is needed to rebuild 29 schools in Marawi City that were completely damaged by the war.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said on Thursday, November 16, that another 47 schools need major repairs in the war-stricken city.
“We will need P1.16 billion up to P2 billion to rebuild the totally damaged schools. ‘Yon ang nine-negotiate natin sa budget namin kasi wala ‘yan sa budget. Pero ‘yong repairs, isisingit namin talaga, pipilitin na maipasok sa aming repairs budget,” Briones said in a press conference.
(We will need P1.16 up to P2 billion to rebuild the totally damaged schools. That’s what we are negotiating for in our budget because that’s not part of the budget. But we will work to insert the budget for repairs.)
DepEd is negotiating with Congress to give the agency funds to build the destroyed Marawi schools because the construction of new classrooms and replacing old buildings is a mandate of the Department of Public Works and Highways. DepEd, meanwhile, is in charge of repairs, buying furniture, and providing electricity to schools.
At present, DepEd has P109.31billion to spend for its Basic Education Facilities Fund. For 2018, DepEd's proposed budget for school buildings is down to P106.08 billion.
Briones lamented it may take some time for the DPWH to repair all 29 schools, since the department is also tasked to repair all the other destroyed infrastructure in Marawi.
Shen then urged civil society organizations and the private sector to “adopt” a destroyed Marawi school and fund its reconstruction.
“Doon sa totally destroyed, nag-challenge kami sa ating mga partners, civil society, different organizations kung gusto nilang mag-adopt ng school para mabils. Kasi kung 29 plus schools sunud-sunurin 'yan [ng government] na i-repair, baka magtatagal,” said Briones.
(For the totally destroyed schools, we are challenging our partners, civil society, and different organizations to adopt a school so construction will be faster. Because if the government will repair all 29 schools consecutively, it may take a while.)
Continuing sense of normalcy for students, teachers
For now, DepEd is building temporary learning spaces so students in Marawi City can go back to school.
The department is also organanizing a Brigada Eskwela in Marawi, where people from different sectors of society will be invited to help repaint walls and blackboards, clean windows and doors, and repair fences of schools. The date has not been finalized.
The department also allows students from Marawi who evacuated to other cities to enroll in any school with or without documentation.
“That's a very important decision we made kasi ayaw naming ma-entrap ang pag-aaral ng mga estudyante. Opening ng classes June 5, June 5 mag-enroll sila, wherever they are. Gusto natin continuity sa mind ng bata na papasok siya maski anong nangyayari,” said Briones.
(That’s a very important decision that we made because we don’t want the students’ schooling to be trapped. They should enroll if the opening of classes is on June 5. We want continuity in the mind of the child, that he or she will still go to school regardless of what is happening around.)
Marawi teachers will also continue receiving their salaries, said Briones.
On May 23, government troops clashed with homegrown terrorists from the Maute Group and a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi City, sparking a five-month battle that destroyed the city. (WATCH: Marawi in 360: The cost of war)
President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi liberated from terrorists on October 17, but not before war caused around P50 billion in damage. – with reports from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com