PASIG CITY, April 23, 2019 – Following the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC) recommendation, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued work suspensions in the aftermath of the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Luzon on April 22.

Through a memorandum dated today, DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones suspended work at the Central Office and the National Capital Region including all its schools division offices and public elementary and secondary schools.

Briones instructed all concerned units to make the necessary adjustments in their scheduled activities, and cautioned officials to proceed only with urgent activities, “provided that the Office of the Secretary is informed, and that necessary measures to ensure safety are taken.”

Rapid assessment
Meanwhile, DepEd’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) released a series of situational reports stating that as of 9:30 AM of April 23, infrastructure damages were reported in Laukan National High School (Main), Bataan; Mabalacat Elementary School, Mabalacat City; Malusac Elementary School, Pio Elementary School, and Camias High School in Pampanga; Subic Central Elementary School in Olongapo City; San Nicolas Integrated School and Sindalan Elementary School in San Fernando City; Agusin High School in Zambales; and Cupang Senior High School in Muntinlupa City. These ranged from cracked floors to damaged pathways, corridors, and school buildings, and collapsed walls, ceilings, and perimeter fences.

Class suspensions in private schools and at the tertiary level were also reported in Region III–Central Luzon (Angeles City, Olongapo City, Zambales, Pampanga, and Mabalacat City) and Region IV-A–CALABARZON (Biñan City, Cabuyao, Calamba City, Laguna, San Pablo City, and Sta. Rosa City).

Structural integrity for safety
Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua further directed DepEd’s field offices in the affected areas—through their local engineers, architects, and DRRM coordinators—to undertake thorough investigation of all school buildings and facilities.

“Only when the structural integrity and safety of school buildings and facilities is assured can the learners, teachers, and personnel be allowed to enter the same,” Pascua stated in a memorandum dated April 22.

DepEd-DRRMS, meanwhile, shall continue to conduct detailed assessment of damages for repair and reconstruction, and disseminate situation reports to affected regions and divisions. It shall also lead the provision of immediate assistance to ensure learning continuity.