Suspension of classes extended

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013


CLASSES at all levels in private schools in Cebu City remain suspended and will resume only on Nov. 4.

This was announced by Mayor Michael Rama yesterday after a meeting with administrators of private schools in the city.

Following strong aftershocks to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last Oct. 15, the school officials agreed with the mayor to resume classes only on Nov. 4.

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The strongest aftershock recorded by the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) at 7:03 a.m. yesterday reached a magnitude of 5.4.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, meanwhile, made a last-minute decision yesterday to cancel classes in all public and private elementary and high schools.

She announced that classes will resume on Nov. 4.

She apologized to students and parents inconvenienced by her last-minute decision.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes decided to resume classes in all public and private schools on Nov. 4 to give City engineers enough time to inspect and repair classrooms.

In Naga, the City Government cordoned off 16 classrooms that have been found unsafe for occupancy.

Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7 Director Amelia Biglete issued a memorandum recommending the extension of the suspension of classes.

“For the safety of the students of colleges and universities, this office would recommend that classes be further suspended and to resume on Nov. 4,” read Biglete's one-page memorandum.

She said she issued another memorandum recommending the suspension of classes for private colleges and universities.

Some parents who brought their children to school expressed dismay that the Lapu-Lapu City Hall did not announce the suspension of classes earlier.

Engineers

“I am not afraid of the tremors, but it is the stampede in schools that I am worried about,” Facebook user Samson Altalaguire Patigas commented on Lapu-Lapu City's
Facebook page.

Radaza said her earlier decision to resume classes yesterday was based on reports by
the City engineers that school buildings remain safe after the Oct. 15 earthquake.

At 7:15 a.m., Radaza asked the police and officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) to assist pupils in going home from school, shortly after a 5.4-magnitude aftershock at 7:03 a.m.

“I was monitoring their coming back to school and I could feel that there were still
traces of trauma and concern,” she said in a statement.

She said she is also concerned with the safety of the children.
Early announcement

Other local government units declared last Sunday yet that classes in their areas will resume only on Nov. 4.

Mayor Rama earlier announced that classes in all levels in public schools will resume only on Nov. 4.

The mayor inspected yesterday some public schools that have been damaged following the Oct. 15 earthquake.

The schools are San Nicolas Elementary School in Barangay Basak San Nicolas; Labangon Elementary School in Barangay Labangon; and the Don Carlos A. Gothong Memorial High School.

The engineers of the Local School Board told Rama that the wall in one of the schoolbuildings should be demolished because it has been rendered unsafe by big cracks. They recommended the building of a new wall.

Classrooms

Rama said the repair work on the schools should begin as soon as possible so that the facilities can be used when classes resume on Nov. 4.

Based on the records of the Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu City Division, there are 531 classrooms out of 3,445 classrooms that need repair as they have been declared unsafe for occupancy. At least P30 million is needed for the repair work.

DepEd Provincial Superintendent Arden Monisit said Gov. Hilario Davide III decided to extend the suspension of classes in public schools because of strong tremors last Sunday.

Monisit and Davide earlier asked schools to submit a certification from their municipal engineers that their school buildings are structurally safe before resuming classes yesterday.

Province

Some 78 of 1,122 public elementary and high schools under the DepEd Cebu Province Division reportedly had damaged classrooms.

Monisit said the earthquake damaged 273 classrooms.

City Administrator James Abadia said 65 public school classrooms in Mandaue need major repairs.

He said makeshift classrooms may be put up inside gymnasiums once classes resume.

Mandaue City Hall may also provide tents where some of the classes can be held.

The City of Naga Engineering Office found that the classrooms of the Inayagan Elementary School; Tuyan Elementary School; Sindulan Daycare Center; Naga National High School; Langtad Elementary School; Cepoc Tinaan Elementary School; Langtad National High School; Bairan Elementary School; Balirong Elementary School; Calavera Primary School in Barangay Pangdan; Cogon Elementary School; Uling National High and Elementary Schools; and Mayana Elementary School have been damaged.
Tents

City Mayor Valdemar Chiong plans to buy tents for temporary classrooms, said public information officer Garry Cabotaje.

Cabotaje said that aside from the schools, the façade of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis Assisi was also damaged by the quake.
The area has been cordoned off pending renovation.

A total of P23.2 million worth of infrastructure in the City of Naga, particularly government buildings, were damaged by the earthquake.

In Talisay City, local government employees handled transactions outside of the City Hall building.

Vince Monterde, Talisay City public information officer, said City Engineer Audie Bacasmas recommended that workers leave the City Hall building after the strong aftershocks.

The engineers later declared that the damage to the City Hall was minor.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 22, 2013.

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