THE repair of dilapidated classrooms and classrooms in Central Visayas that were damaged by the onslaught of super typhoon Odette on Dec. 16, 2021 is almost completed.
Director Salustiano Jimenez of the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 estimated the completion rate to be around 90 percent.
Jimenez earlier said there are 100,000 classrooms in around 3,000 public schools in the region. Of that number, more than 6,000 were affected by Odette, while less than 1,000 were dilapidated that needed repair.
“Regarding repairs, they are almost complete. The prolonged repair works are due to the extensive requirements needed. For instance, in Central Visayas, as I mentioned before, the region’s requirements have even reached P7 billion,” he told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Dec. 14, 2023.
Salustiano, however, said he could not determine how much of the P7 billion was supplemented.
He explained that some of the funds did not directly come from the education agency, but were donated from other government agencies, local government units (LGUs), as well as the private sector.
“It’s not just the national government that provides support; there are also NGOs (nongovernmental organizations). If we look at it, if we rely solely on government funds, perhaps only 50 percent of the needed repairs might be addressed. However, with the support of other stakeholders, the total contribution cannot be easily quantified,” he said.
In an interview with SunStar Cebu last Aug. 31, Jimenez said that for this year, an estimated total funding of P510 million would be allocated for the construction of new classrooms as well as for the renovation of classrooms destroyed or damaged by Odette.
He said the budget would come from the funds of representatives from the 17 congressional districts in the region.
Jimenez said the amount would cover the procurement of essential furniture and chairs required in classrooms, ensuring a holistic approach to the rehabilitation process.
The director said they would demolish classrooms that could not be salvaged and replace them with new ones.
On Friday, Jimenez said construction is at 50 percent, but he did not say how many classrooms or buildings they target to accomplish.
Jimenez said they are currently focusing on repair works.
Aside from the challenges they face in securing the budget needed for building the classrooms, he said they also have to deal with contractors who complain about the cost of logistics, especially if the classrooms are located in far-flung areas.
He also clarified that the Department of Public Works and Highways is the implementing agency of the projects and that DepEd’s role is only to oversee the progress of the work.
“Our only part in DepEd is to monitor closely, so that all these projects will be fast-tracked so we can use them (classrooms) immediately,” he said.