THE Department of Education (DepEd) said on Wednesday that the estimated cost of repair and reconstruction of the schools damaged by the July 27 earthquake that shook Northern Luzon was P2.414 billion.

DepEd data said 475 schools in Regions 1 to 3 and in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) were damaged by the earthquake, whose epicenter was located in Abra.

"For the funding, which is very important, we are of course in consultation with the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and the Department of Public Works and Highways last week regarding the request for funding for the damaged classrooms since we have limited funds," DepEd Assistant Secretary Francis Cesar Bringas told the House of Representatives Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle.

Bringas said the DepEd has already secured P4.86 million for the construction of over 20 temporary learning spaces in 10 schools in Abra, while the processing of the funds for the construction of 187 temporary learning spaces for the CAR and Regions 1 to 3 was ongoing.

On Wednesday, the DepEd said it will provide schools in areas affected by typhoons and the quake P180,000 for the construction of temporary learning spaces.

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DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said that funds have been downloaded to regional offices.

He said that DepEd regional offices will have to coordinate with local government units, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Poa said that distance learning and blended learning deliveries may still be implemented by schools affected and damaged by calamities during the transition period from August 22 to October 31, leading to full in-person learning by November 2.

The Education department reported that 18.6 million learners have so far enrolled for the upcoming school year — 10 million learners shy of the department's enrollment target.

WITH KAITHREEN CRUZ