DepEd: Tents, alternative classrooms needed in Visayas

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday, October 16, said a total of 30 schools in Cebu and Bohol were damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Central Visayas on Tuesday.

Aside from schools, two division offices – Cebu and Tagbilaran – were also damaged, said Jocelyn Saw, who heads the DepEd's Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Rappler learned that in Bohol, where the quake's epicenter was, tents are needed to serve as alternative classrooms. 

As of 2 pm, DepEd-Bohol officer-in-charge Wilfreda Bongalos told Rappler over the phone that 11 schools were damaged in the province.

The number of schools may still rise, she said, since they have been assessing only through text messages. “Hindi pa kami makaikot kasi nasira mga bridges. (We can't go around because bridges were destroyed).”

Bongalos said her division needs 30 tents that will serve as temporary classrooms once classes resume on Monday, October 21. While only 11 schoolbuildings were badly damaged, she said they do not want to take risk with other buildings whose walls were damaged. 

Classes will remain suspended in provinces of Cebu and Bohol, and in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental until Friday, October 18. 

Meanwhile, Saw said 3 schools in Bohol are currently being used as evacuation centers:

Usable classrooms

No schools were rendered totally unusable in Cebu, according to Romualdo Abella, physical facilities coordinator of DepEd -Cebu provincial division office.

With 998 elementary schools and around 167 highschools in the province, only 78 were reported to be partially damaged as of 2 pm Wednesday. Majority of these are elementary schools.

“May mga may cracks, damage, [pero] p'wede pa magamit at mapapasukan pa ng mga bata.... Maaayos pa natin,” Abella told Rappler. (There are cracks, damage, but students can still attend classes and use them.... We can still fix them.)

Saw said while government is still assessing the extent of damage in schools, “we're also identifying alternative learning sites because we have to continue classes as soon as possible.”

Psychological first aid will also be provided to students and teachers. – Rappler.com

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.

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