To help normalize basic education in areas badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda, the Department of Education (DepEd) will take its ‘Brigada-Eskuwela’ campaign to Eastern Visayas.
Education Undersecretary Mario Deriquito said the campaign will prioritize the repair of classrooms and facilities partially damaged by the typhoon.
The ‘Brigada-Eskuwela’ is usually launched by the agency prior to the opening of classes to ensure the students have a sanitary place conducive to learning.
At the same time, Deriquito said, the agency in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the private sector is fast-tracking the repair and rehabilitation of schools partially damaged by the typhoon.
Despite this, he lamented that more classes in areas badly hit by super typhoon Yolanda will still be conducted in makeshift tents as repairs of damaged classrooms will take more time.
“Classrooms are not yet up so children will have to continue holding classes in temporary tents,” Deriquito told reporters at a media roundtable.
He said more the 3,000 classrooms were damaged while more than 17,000 others were partially damaged by the super typhoon.
“We decided to start with the reconstruction of damaged classrooms after the closing of the school year. So we need more time for its completion,” Deriquito said.
Based on their building plan, he added, the agency has enough resources to build new classrooms with the private sector sharing at least 25 percent of the total budgetary requirement.
Deriquito lauded the commitment of the private sector to help rebuild and reconstruct classrooms destroyed by the calamity.
He cited the reconstruction by private firm Intel Philippines of Sto. Niño Elementary School in Tanauan, Leyte.
Intel Philippines partnered with the DepEdand the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to implement the program aimed at reestablishing an even better and stronger school for students and teachers of the municipality.
“This initiative is a testament to our unwavering dedication to provide access to teaching and learning opportunities for the youth that are critical to each community’s development,” said Intel Philippines Country Manager Calum Chisholm.
Intel funded the completion of four new disaster-resilient buildings with 10 classrooms for more than 500 primary school students.
Chisholm said the new school will have walls, floors and partitions that can withstand up to three hours of fire, compared to the conventional one-hour fire resistance.
To ensure stronger defense against seismic events and typhoons, PBSP Visayas executive committee chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz said the structure will be built at a distance of one meter above the original ground line for flood and will be resistant to 250-kilometer-per-hour (kph) winds, compared to the conventional 200-kph wind load design.