The Department of Education’s (DepEd) immediate solution for the urgent need to provide a “safe space for teachers and students” following the destructive magnitude 7.0 northwestern Luzon quake is by building and looking for temporary learning spaces.
“What we are looking at right now from the DepEd’s side is quick intervention. Nandoon po tayo sa pagtatayo ng temporary learning spaces natin. Ano po ‘yun? Ito po ang spaces made out of light materials – pero may bubong po ito – para safe mag-aral ang ating learners (What we are looking at right now from the DepEd’s side is quick intervention. We are aiming to build temporary learning spaces. What is that? This is a space made out of light materials – but it has a roof – so that our learners can study safely),” said DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa in a press briefing on Tuesday, August 2.
Building temporary learning spaces would take around three days according to Poa.
“Secondly, we are also looking [for] available spaces. We are coordinating [with] local government units (LGUs) [and] barangays, kung meron pong mahahanap na lugar na hindi nagagamit sa ngayon at baka pwedeng gamitin ng learners (Secondly, we are also looking for available spaces. We are coordinating with LGUs and barangays if we can find an area that is not being used at the moment. Maybe the learners can use it),” he added
While DepEd is also aiming to rehabilitate and reconstruct the quake-damaged schools, Poa stressed that it will take time and necessary budget. To date, the department had already asked for a budget of 16 billion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), but Poa reiterated that the estimated cost of repair will surely grow as the assessment continues.
As of July 31, DepEd’s data showed that 263 schools were damaged by the destructive earthquake. Of this number, 152 were from Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 59 from Ilocos Region, 29 from Cagayan Valley, 21 from Central Luzon, while Metro Manila and CALABARZON had 1 damaged school respectively.
The cost of repair, according to DepEd, has likewise ballooned to 1.48 billion.
Despite these challenges, Poa said that classes for school year (SY) 2022-2023 will still push through on Aug. 22, 2022, reiterating that DepEd is confident and committed to its plans and strategy.
“Sa ngayon ay talagang desidido tayo at ang direksyon talaga natin ay i-open ang classes. Ang nakikita lang talaga nating problema now ay yung mga naapektuhan nitong lindol, pati na rin yung mga schools na hindi pa nagagawa simula noong typhoon Odette. Those are the things that we are a bit worried about, but again we do have plans, we do have a strategy, and we are confident na tuluy-tuloy tayo sa August (Right now we are really determined and our direction is to open the classes. The only problem we see now is those affected by this earthquake, as well as those schools that have not been built since typhoon Odette. Those are the things that we are a bit worried about, but again we do have plans, we do have a strategy, and we are confident that we will continue in August),” he furthered.