THREE years later, 279 new classrooms are still being built in Bohol Province to replace those destroyed by a powerful quake that struck the province.
Most of the quake-damaged classrooms have been fixed in both Bohol and Cebu, but the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 is now checking if the finished classrooms have any defects.
DepEd wants to make sure that the delivered classrooms are, indeed, disaster-proof, said Engr. Noemi Guillen, DepEd 7 physical facilities coordinator.
More than P2.25 billion in public infrastructure were damaged or destroyed by the quake, which struck during a public holiday. The quake also killed 214 persons in Bohol, and a total of 227 in the region.
In Bohol, local school officials revealed they repaired 1,616 classrooms with a total budget of P288 million since 2013.
After the earthquake, a total of 1,146 classrooms had to be repaired for minor damage.
The Bohol Provincial Schools Division also arranged for the construction of 1,846 new classrooms for P1.44 billion.
Dominggo Lamoste, division engineer for the Bohol Provincial Schools Division, said that the total number of newly built and repaired classrooms exceeded the number of destroyed and damaged classrooms since they also addressed the shortage of classrooms in some schools.
In Cebu, around 75 classrooms damaged by the earthquake have been repaired since 2014, said Engr. April Custodio, one of the engineers working for the Cebu Provincial Schools Division.
The Cebu Provincial Schools Division spent P17.3 million for the repairs, Custodio added.
Custodio told Sun.Star Cebu that majority of their major repairs were conducted in schools in the southern part of Cebu.
Towns whose classrooms were damaged by the earthquake include Sibonga, Minglanilla, Alegria, Argao, Aloguinsan and Pinamungajan in the south, as well as Compostela and Liloan in the north.
In Sibonga, five classrooms in three schools were repaired, while 13 classrooms were repaired in three schools in Minglanilla.
In Alegria, nine classrooms in three schools were repaired, while in Argao, 29 classrooms in nine schools were also fixed.
In Aloguinsan, five classrooms in two schools were repaired. So were two classrooms in two schools in Pinamungajan.
Custodio said that most of the repairs were built using DepEd’s Quick Response Fund.
The quake did not require the construction of new classrooms in Cebu Province, Custodio added.
In Cebu City, around 161 classrooms in six public schools have been repaired since 2014.
Engr. Wendell Tabar, division engineer for the Cebu City Schools Division, told Sun.Star Cebu that for now, they are focusing on repairs in classrooms in San Nicolas Elementary School in Barangay Duljo-Fatima and Sibugay Integrated School worth P2 million.
Work to do
Majority of the repairs conducted in the 161 classrooms in Cebu City were funded through the Local School Board.
Tabar, however, couldn’t say how much the City Government spent for the repairs of the 161 classrooms.
In Bohol, even though the local school division has built a significant number of classrooms in schools that were damaged by the earthquake, there is still work to be done.
Lamoste said they are still building 279 new classrooms to replace those damaged during the quake.
The 279 new classrooms are being built using the DepEd’s Basic Education Facilities Fund (BEFF) by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Lamoste said various factors delayed the construction, including the delay in the release of funds.
But he added that the 279 new classrooms may be completed before the end of this year.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 17, 2016.
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