LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY, November 12, 2020 – In light of recent situations in the regions, the Department of Education will be enforcing stricter policies to assist our schools and communities during calamities. Also, the DepEd shall strengthen strategic school designs to ensure that facilities can withstand stronger typhoons and earthquakes.

During field visits in adversely affected provinces of Bicol region, Undersecretary for Field Operations Revsee Escobedo underscored the importance of redesigning school buildings to protect our teachers, learners, and personnel from destructive calamities.

“We have to prepare our schools for stronger typhoons due to climate change. Dati rati, 5 to 10 years bago may malakas ulit na bagyo. Ngayon, halos kada taon, may malakas na bagyo,” Usec. Escobedo stated in a consultative meeting with school heads of Albay on Thursday.

In a Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADAR) of DepEd Region V, 41% or 1,587 schools in Bicol suffered infrastructure damages due to Super Typhoon Rolly as of November 10, 2020. The partial estimated cost of damages is reportedly PhP 6.6 billion.

Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua said that DepEd engineers are already drawing up proposals for new school designs but noted that the reconstruction or rehabilitation efforts will vary depending on the current status of school buildings and available funds.

“We have to go back again to the drawing board kasi palakas nang palakas ang mga bagyo. Ang target namin, within the next 15-20 years, nakatayo pa rin ang mga school buildings at hindi nasisira,” Usec. Pascua emphasized.

Usec. Pascua cited roofing, ceiling, and window patterns, as well as engineering as major considerations in the redesigning of DepEd facilities.

Additionally, the Undersecretary stressed that aside from the redesigning, local DepEd engineers and school heads should work together in ensuring that only appropriate materials will be used by winning contractors to achieve storm- and earthquake-proof school buildings.

“Dapat kasama ang mga engineers at makita nila [construction of facilities] para malaman kung tama ba yung bakal o bago ikabit yung ceiling ay maayos lahat. Kaya dapat ay bantayan para masiguradong nasa standard lahat. Kailangan natin magparami ng mga engineers,” Pascua said.

On November 30, local DepEd engineers are set to submit post-disaster needs assessment for inclusion in the program of works next year.

Since Tuesday, the team of Usec. Escobedo and Usec. Pascua has been personally inspecting typhoon-hit schools in Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, and Albay. They are also set to visit Catanduanes and Camarines Norte in the following days.