Quake-damaged schools' classes held in tents, sports buildings-A A +A
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
MANY teachers and students of public elementary and high schools in Cebu tried to hold classes inside tents and sports buildings after a two-week break because their classrooms were damaged by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15.
Teachers said it was difficult to conduct lectures because they could hear what was going on in other classes. They also did not have blackboards.
Classes had to be conducted in shifts, which had grown shorter—from eight to four or six hours—to accommodate more sections.
After the flag ceremony in some schools, students were briefed what to do during an earthquake.
In Mandaue City, worried parents accompanied their children back to school yesterday.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said Gov. Hilario Davide III had asked the provincial engineer and Schools Division Superintendent Arden Monisit to prioritize the repair of damaged school buildings.
She said Capitol will buy tents that can be used by schools while undergoing repair.
At Tejero Elementary School, some of classes were divided into three shifts instead of two: the first is from 6 to 10 a.m.; the second is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and the third is from 1 to 5 p.m.
Maria Thelma Rosales, assistant principal, told Sun.Star Cebu that the four-storey Grade 5 building, the second and third floors of their four-storey Grade 1 and 4 buildings and the second floor of their administration building have been declared unsafe following the earthquake.
“If we don’t have three shifts, some students would not have classes,” said Rosales.
Tejero Elementary School has 3,100 students. Out of its 74 classrooms, 50 have been damaged by the earthquake, said Rosales.
Nine classes for Grades 4 and 5 are held inside the barangay sports complex.
Maricel Colina, a Grade 4 teacher, said the situation is not conducive for learning.
“Nagpabasa ko sa akong mga studyante, nagpabasa sad ang pikas nga klase so nagyagaw gyud. Di gyud pwede nga ing-ani kay way makat-unan ang mga bata (I let my students read, but the next class would do the same. It’s too noisy. The students would not learn anything),” she told Sun.Star Cebu.
Colina said she will ask higher officials of their school to put up divisions in the sports complex.
A LOUD explosion in the mountain barangay of Manipis, Talisay City yesterday sent residents into panic and disrupted classes, which have just resumed after a break that was extended to two weeks because of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15.
“Nangangha mi. Abi namo og linog napud (We were shocked. We thought it was another earthquake),” said village chief Pedro Cabiluna to Sun.Star Cebu.
Upon Cabiluna’s request, teachers advised the 300 students of Manipis Elementary School and Manipis National High School to go home.
Talisay City Councilor Danny Caballero, together with the police, went to the Manipis, located about 13 kilometers from the city proper, to investigate the blast.
Caballero said the explosion occurred past 9 a.m. and was followed by another one at 10 p.m. No one was reported injured and no property was damaged, but the explosions frightened residents.
Cabiluna said residents suspect the explosions was caused by dynamite blasts related to mining in Toledo City.
“Makadungog mi sauna mag-blasting sila pero dili ing-ato kakusog (We heard mining blasts in the past but not that loud),” he said.
Mining operations sometimes use dynamite blasting to break rocks.
PO2 Dennis Onasin of the Talisay City Police Station, one of the responding police officers, said they will talk to the management of the mining company to verify if the explosions were caused by their operations.
The Toledo City Police Station called Carmen Copper Corp. to ask about the explosion, but the mining firm denied it.
“Dili man daw sa ila gikan. Wala sila nag-blasting (They did not cause the blast,” said Chief Insp. Michael Anthony Bastes, the city police chief.
In the absence of blackboards, she said, they will use visual aids.
The situation is the same at Labangon Elementary School.
Charito Velasco, principal, said 10 Grade 6 classes were held inside the barangay sports complex because the earthquake damage 14 out of the school’s 72 classrooms.
At Gothong Memorial National Highschool, classes were held under tents provided to them by the City Government's Local School Board.
Benedicta Arcilla told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that six fourth year classes and three second year classes were conducted in the makeshift classrooms.
Gothong, she said, cannot use 43 out of its 78 classrooms.
Mayor Michael Rama visited public schools in Bulacao, Inayawan, Pardo, Quiot, Punta Princesa, Mambaling and Basak, as well as the Don Vicente Rama Elementary School.
Classes in the schools were held inside tents and sports buildings, he said.
The mayor instructed the local school board to repair all the classrooms damaged by the earthquake before the year ends.
At the Mandaue City Central School, one of the biggest schools in the city, parents stayed at the waiting area until classes were dismissed.
Arlene Mulle said she wanted to be around for her two sons, ages nine and 14, if an aftershock ever occurred.
The 36-year-old housewife said the Oct. 15 earthquake left her youngest son traumatized. “Kung mu-aftershock, mugakos dayon nako (When there's an aftershock, he would hug me),” she said.
Despite the threat of aftershocks, the school had full attendance yesterday.
In Lapu-Lapu City, pupils underwent a debriefing session after the flag-raising ceremony.
“The teachers let the students share their experience of the earthquake,” said Dr. Eduardo Ompad, superintendent of Department of Education (DepEd) Lapu-Lapu City Division.
At the Mandaue City Central School, pupils were told what to do if an earthquake occurs.
With 19 classrooms unfit for occupancy, principal Aliena Quimque said Grade 1 and 2 pupils had to be divided into morning and afternoon classes.
Quimque said the classrooms, which were previously occupied by 15 sections, were declared unsafe by engineers from the City and DepEd central office.
The Mandaue City Police Office also set up help desks in selected schools, including the City Central School.
Teachers yesterday briefed the affected students of the changes.
Grade 1 and 2 pupils were divided into two schedules. The first schedule is from 7 a.m. until noon, while the second is from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The rest of the grade levels will have normal classes.
Quimque said they will have to hold Saturday classes or extend class hours to make up for the lost school days. “It will depend on the decision of the higher offices,” she added.
In Lapu-Lapu City, some classes, including Basak and Marigondon Elementary Schools, had to be conducted in shifts and were held inside sports buildings.
Ompad said 52 classrooms need repair following the earthquake.
Aside from schools, Capitol will also supply two tents for each of the 16 hospitals damaged by the Oct 15 earthquake.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Board (PB) adopted a resolution urging mayors to require the retrofitting of all buildings older than 10 years.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 05, 2013.