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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (Deped) on Tuesday, January 2, announced that classes have started in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, both affected by typhoon Sendong.
In the worst hit areas of both cities however, classes will not immediately focus on academics. Instead, school children will be asked to go through interaction activities, stress debriefing and play therapy.
The special classes willl be administered by Deped teachers with assistance from social workers and child psychologists from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Health (DOH).
They will be done in 14 affected schools (out 107 schools) in Cagayan De Oro and another
14 affected schools (out of 112 schools) in Iligan City. The rest of schools will have normal classes.
“We have to respond to the immediate needs of both teachers and students and for now, it is important that we introduce activities that will bring back normalcy in their lives,” education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC explained in a press release.
The DepEd is also making the final list of schools being used as evacuation centers.
Luistro said in places where schoolrooms are still needed to house evacuees, classes in temporary learning spaces including the use of tents provided by UNICEF, Plan International and Save the Children, among others. “While there are shortages in tents, donations are still coming in,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro has offered his parish for temporary relocation while the Jesuit-run Xavier University said it has five hectares in Lumbia also for relocation. For its part, the local government of Cagayan de Oro has made available another 3. 5 hectares as relocation site.
“This is a welcome development and slowly, internally-displaced residents are moving on to rebuild lives in relocation sites,” said Luistro. – Rappler.com