DepEd capitalizes on convergence to help quake survivors in Ormoc, Leyte

July 15, 2017

PASIG CITY, July 15, 2017 – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones underscored the significance of convergence and action to help the survivors of the July 6 and 10 earthquakes in Leyte that registered magnitude 6.5 and 5.4, respectively.
The Education chief, with DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua, DepEd Eastern Visayas OIC-Regional Director Ramir B. Uytico, Ormoc City Schools Division Superintendent Manuel P. Albaño, and Leyte Schools Division Superintendent Ronelo Al K. Firmo, updated President Rodrigo RoaDuterte about DepEd’s relevant data, assessment, and recommendations following the two quakes that hit Ormoc City, Kananga, and some areas in Leyte during a situation briefing at the Ormoc Airport on July 13. They were joined by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año and other Cabinet Secretaries.
Also present were the regional directors of national government agencies, local government officials of Ormoc City and Kananaga, AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) officers, 4th District of Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez, and national and local media.
“As a consequence, Mr. President, of the aftershocks, children still need psycho-social assistance. The challenge is, in some schools, children refuse to go inside the classroom,” Secretary Briones said when President Duterte asked about the situation of education in the affected areas.
According to Briones, the data on injuries are very similar to the report of the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).She also narrated the case of a 10-year-old girl whose foot got stuck in a crack when the ground opened, then suddenly closed during the quake.
“In terms of the actual damage, Mr. President, our estimate is slightly higher than that of NDRRMC kasisakanila P149 million, saamin P184 million,” the Secretary pointed out.
Briones was referring to the total estimated cost of damages of the four affected schools divisions in Region VIII, which amounted to P184,794,000 based on the summary of the reports presented to her by the regional director prior to the presidential briefing. Of the four schools divisions, Ormoc City Division has the biggest damage amounting to 104,220,000, followed by Leyte Division with P76,514, 000 worth of destruction, Biliran Division with P2.7 M, and Tacloban City Division with P1.36 M.
Ormoc City, being the epicenter, also has the biggest number in terms of schools affected (28), classrooms for replacement (67), and injured personnel (17).
“Now, we also confirm, since we also did our assessment separately, the findings of DPWH that among the school buildings which were damaged are those which were donated. The ones built publicly by the DPWH are still standing,” Briones continued.
As a result of the foregoing findings, the Secretary recommended to initiate policy guidelines on school building donations. In consultation and agreement with Department of Public of Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, Secretary Briones said that DepEd will issue policies on upgraded design of school buildings that are earthquake resistant and can withstand at least 250 kph winds.
“So, all our new school buildings will have to follow that design and those who want to donate will also be encouraged to follow our design,” Briones added.
Emphasizing on the significance of coming together, Secretary Briones said, “The important thing here is the convergence of the different Cabinet offices, who on their own, came, made their own assessment, came up with very similar findings, and acted to help each other, particularly the victims, local officials, Cabinet members, and the private sector.”