First lesson in QC school: Disaster preparedness

Jee Y. Geronimo
First lesson in QC school: Disaster preparedness
'Although the school is far from the West Valley Fault, we still have to prepare the students,' says Batasan Hills National High School principal Diego Amid

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of students in Batasan Hills National High School will learn about disaster preparedness on their first day in school Monday, June 1.

“Yung MAPEH at Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao, ang first lesson nila ay disaster preparedness. Ngayon, it’s really high time na mag-focus sa disaster preparedness dahil ang Batasan Hills ay nasa area na madadaanan ng West Valley Fault,” Diego Amid, principal of Batasan Hills National High School, told Rappler.

(In subjects like MAPEH and Values Education, their first lesson is disaster preparedness. Right now, it’s really high time to focus on disaster preparedness because Batasan Hills is in the area near the West Valley Fault.)

While the school does not have buildings transected by the West Valley Fault, data from Project Tremors showed that Batasan Hills National High School is roughly 0.95 km away from the fault. 

The West Valley Fault, which traverses various parts of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, is expected to greatly affect the country since the region is not only highly populated, but it also hosts the seat of government and the country’s business capital.

“Although malayo naman ang school pero dapat paghandaan pa rin natin to prepare the students,” Amid said. (Although the school is far from the West Valley Fault, we still have to prepare the students.)

The Department of Education (DepEd) identified at least 5 public schools that have buildings transected by the West Valley Fault

  • Barangka National High School (Marikina)
  • Buli Elementary School (Muntinlupa)
  • Alabang Elementary School (Muntinlupa)
  • Pedro E. Diaz High School (Muntinlupa)
  • Karahume Elementary School (Bulacan)

Until engineers are done confirming and validating the structural integrity of select buildings in the said schools, those buildings will not be used for classes. (READ: Schools, hospitals near West Valley Fault)

Congestion in QC schools

On Monday, over 46,624 public schools all over the country opened their doors to more than 21 million elementary and high school students. Over 1.6 million of those students are in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Batasan Hills National High School is one of the most congested schools in Metro Manila, with an enrollment of 13,128 students for school year 2015-2016.

With a class size of up to 55 students, the school will have to implement double shifting to cater to its big student population. 

  • Morning shift: 6 am to 12:20 pm
  • Afternoon shift: 1 pm to 7:20 pm

DepEd NCR Director Luz Almeda said about 10 schools in Quezon City are congested.

“Sana naman we can devise a way na yung mga bata kung saan sila nakatira dun sila papasok. Ili-limit na natin ‘to kasi 13,000 is so huge, ang problema naman natin is wala tayong buildable space,” Almeda said, referring to Batasan Hills National High School. (I hope we can devise a way for students to go to schools near their homes. We will limit this school’s enrollment because 13,000 is so huge, and our problems is that we don’t have space [to build].)

The good news is that according to Almeda, 25 schools in Metro Manila are back to single shifting from double shifting in 2014. –

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.