BILIRAN, December 31, 2017 – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones stressed the significance of regaining normalcy in education in Biliran after Tropical Storm Urduja hit Eastern Visayas.
Recognizing the resiliency of Biliranons, Secretary Briones said, “Death of loved ones, loss of properties and livelihood are all painful. However, let us not pass the burden of fear, hopelessness, and the feeling of nothing to look forward to our children. As fast as possible, let us bring them back to school. Let us give our children the sense of normalcy.”
The Education chief, along with other DepEd officials, the governor of Biliran and representatives of various government sectors, informed the stakeholders about DepEd’s plans and recommendations following the tragedy that greatly devastated the province and other areas in Eastern Visayas, during a press conference last December 28 at the Teachers’ Arena, Division of Biliran.
“Education must continue no matter what happens. On January 3, Biliran should resume normalcy in education,” Briones emphasized.
Briones said that DepEd is ready to build new schools for as long as the local government unit (LGU) will provide safe school sites for the two schools greatly affected by the landslides. She further stressed that while budget and plans for the construction of new school buildings are being prepared, DepEd will provide temporary learning spaces for learning to continue.
“Provision of education is not only through construction of school buildings. We need more learning materials, facilities and equipment, competent teachers and school heads to ensure quality education,” Briones added.
Twelve schools in Biliran have been affected, two of which are considered totally damaged and need relocation.
The estimated cost of damage on affected schools amounted to P 39,578.188.40, based on the damage assessment conducted by the Schools Division Engineer. Of the total estimated cost of damage, P 18,618,188.40 will be needed for construction of new school buildings and P 20,960,000.00 for classroom repairs.
To assist the Division of Biliran in its recovery and rehabilitation, DepEd Regional Office VIII orchestrated the spirit of bayanihan among the different education stakeholders and brought them together in one activity dubbed as “Biliran: Bangon, Barug, Balik Eskwela.” The activity was launched last December 27 and will continue until the opening of classes on January 3.
Emphasizing on preserving the environment, the Secretary pointed out that the school children must be taught of having a sense of awareness and appreciation of what climate change is all about.
“Biliran is rich in resources. We have to show the nation that we are worthy and deserving of these gifts,” Briones added.