2,000 classrooms need repairs-A A +A
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
CEBU CITY -- The Department of Education-Central Visayas (DepEd 7) reported a total of 2,067 classrooms in the region were heavily damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol last Oct. 15.
In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama ordered the Local School Board to make sure all repairs will be completed by December.
But since classes at all levels in public schools will resume on Nov. 4, Cubero said the schools will just have to conduct emergency classes until the damaged classrooms are completely repaired.
This means classes will be done by shifting — one in the morning and another one in the afternoon — so that more than one class can use a room.
Local School Board chief Ester Cubero also said that some schools will just have to conduct their classes under tents.
Speaking before the 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza Tuesday, DepEd 7 Director Carmelita Dulangon said that of the 2,067 damaged classrooms, 267 are located in Bohol, 531 in Cebu City and 1,122 in the Province of Cebu.
“These damaged classrooms need repairs before classes will resume on Nov. 4,” Dulangon said.
Classes are suspended in all public schools and nearly all private schools in Cebu until Nov. 4, while authorities inspect the classrooms for any damage.
Director Dulangon is also concerned about the Oct. 28 barangay elections, when public school teachers will serve in various precincts that will be based in the schools with damaged classrooms.
“Where will the teachers serve during the barangay election? In the same damaged classrooms?,” Dulangon asked.
The DepEd 7 director said that until Tuesday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials have yet to meet with the public school teachers to discuss the matter.
“I hope the officials of DepEd and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will conduct a coordination meeting before Thursday so we can discuss safety measures during Election Day,” Dulangon said.
She said there is no problem in Bohol because barangay elections there are postponed.
In Cebu City, the repairs needed for the public schools in Cebu City that were damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last Oct. 15 will be completed by December, an official said.
Local School Board chief Ester Cubero said this is in line with Mayor Michael Rama’s pronouncement that there should be no traces that a strong earthquake hit the city, by the end of the year.
Cubero said the City and a non-government organization, which she did not name, will be providing tents to different schools.
Based on the records of the DepEd Cebu City Division, there are a total of 3,445 classrooms in the 122 public elementary and secondary schools in the city.
Following last week’s earthquake, the Department of Engineering and Public Works and the engineers of the school board declared 531 classrooms unsafe for occupancy.
P30M for repairs
Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud said the repairs will cost at least P30 million.
In an interview Tuesday, Cubero said the school board has already purchased an initial P12 million worth of construction materials for the schools’ repair. The amount has been charged to the P235-million Special Education Fund this year.
As to the remaining amount needed, Cubero said they are still looking for savings in previous years’ SEF for the purchase of additional construction materials.
Cubero said those who will handle the repairs will be the eight engineers and the more than 100 carpenters of the school board.
Meanwhile, Cebu has enough classrooms for the Oct. 28 barangay elections, although some classrooms were damaged by the quake, said Provincial Election supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano.
DepEd Cebu Superintendent Arden Monisit said Castellano is still asking for permission from their central office in Manila Tuesday for the possible transfer of precincts from damaged classrooms to functional ones.
Engineers also declared on Tuesday the four-storey Cebu Legislative building as having no structural damage. But Provincial Engineer Hector Jamora said they will still seek the Cebu City Office of the Building Official’s (OBO) clearance before they start the repairs.
“The building is still structurally sound, stable and safe after the earthquake,” structural engineer Edgar Velarde stated in his assessment.
Castillano, for his part, said the 8,951 classrooms available for the barangay election will be more than enough.
The province has only 5,032 total precincts.
As to the legislative building, Jamora said they already made a request for the OBO to inspect the building and make recommendations.
The office will need to issue a certificate of safety and occupancy, before the Capitol can use the building again.
After the OBO’s inspection and a recommendation, Jamora said they will immediately start the repairs. Hardest hit was the fourth floor, where Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale holds office, and the third floor, where legislators hold office. (PDF/EOB/OCP/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 24, 2013.