MANILA, Philippines – The budget is there, but there’s not enough supply to buy.
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro said on Friday, October 25, the procurement of needed tents as alternative classrooms in Bohol and Cebu is going slow, considering their target to resume classes in the first week of November.
The department has deployed their stocks of tents to war-torn Zamboanga City, even though the 3-week fighting between government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) had no significant damage on school buildings.
“Binibilisan namin, medyo nababagalan ako dahil wala tayong na-purchase [na] buffer stock for that [quake-hit schools], and our stock for tents ngayon ay naka-deploy sa Zamboanga. So medyo nahihirapan kasi dumating pa nga ito,” Luistro said.
(We’re going double-time. It’s a bit slow because we were not able to purchase buffer stock for that, and right now, our stocks for tents are deployed to Zamboanga. We’re having a hard time after the earthquake happened.)
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Central Visayas on October 15, causing much damage in Bohol, where the quake’s epicenter was. As of 6 am on Friday, October 25, the death toll had reached 201.
Luistro also said they may have to compromise on the specifications of the tents.
“This will not be like the first tents we deployed [to] Zamboanga. This would rather be whatever is available,” he said.
But while DepEd is purchasing tents, Luistro still asked that additional tents and tarpaulins be donated to the department.
“Kailangan talaga namin ng tulong, baka may p’wedeng mag-donate ng tents o kaya tarpaulins (We really need help, maybe people can donate tents or tarpaulins); we will make our own makeshift classrooms for the time being,” Luistro said. (READ: DepEd: Tents, alternative classrooms needed in Visayas)
As of Friday, about 600 schools were reported damaged in Bohol alone. DepEd engineers were instructed to visit every school in both provinces – whether damaged or not – to check on the structural integrity of the buildings.
“Hindi namin talaga sila pwedeng ilagay sa classroom habang hindi pa ito nachecheck ng engineer, at saka kailangang siguraduhin namin na ‘pag umulan, may masisilungan. E very few structures ang pwedeng masilungan sa Bohol ngayon.“
(We really cannot put them in classrooms not yet checked by engineers, and we also need to make sure that when it rains, students can find shelter. But right now, very few structures in Bohol can do that.)
P300 million from the quick response fund and savings from the classroom project funded by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation have been alloted for immediate response. – Rappler.com