SCHOOL OPENING. Education spokesperson Michael Poa (center) gives updates on the Department of Education’s school reopening preparation during a press conference in Imus, Cavite on Monday (Aug. 1, 2022). Poa said DepEd is considering building “temporary learning spaces” in areas severely affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit northern Luzon, particularly Abra province. (PNA photo by Jesus Escaros Jr.)

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said the reopening of classes will push through on August 22, even in northern Luzon areas, including Abra province, which was hit by a magnitude 7 earthquake on July 27.

“The direction is that there will be no delay in the opening of classes. Just alternative delivery mode for certain areas,” said DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa in a Viber message to reporters.

Poa made the statement following the DepEd’s assessment of the situation and capabilities of the quake-damaged schools to reopen classes.

He, however, clarified the decision was only for the August 22 opening of classes since 451 classrooms were destroyed by the Luzon quake.

“Right now, the discussion on this was confined to the August 22 opening of classes. We will monitor the situation thereafter. The thrust is to still implement full in-person classes starting Nov 2,” he said.

During the kickoff event of Brigada Eskwela at the Imus Pilot Elementary School in Imus, Cavite on Monday, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said the DepEd is looking into a PHP1.4-billion worth of recovery and reconstruction fund.

“Hindi pa nga natin naayos at natapos ang destruction ng isang kalamidad, dumating na naman ang isang kalamidad (We haven’t yet recovered from destruction of a calamity, yet another calamity came). And we need more than PHP18 billion, excluding the PHP1.4 billion of damage from the Abra earthquake to get ourselves out of the quicksand of this year and last year. It does not include the things, or the repairs that we have to do from 2016,” Duterte said in her speech.

Poa, however, said the amount is not yet final since the department is still planning to request additional funding from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“We’re really assessing the situation on the ground, and we’re looking at options, and one is the temporary learning spaces which we can build, so of course, that would also entail funding and will depend on how many were destroyed, because every day the amount changes,” he said.

Poa said DepEd is considering building “temporary learning spaces” in areas severely affected by the Abra earthquake.

Earlier, the DepEd said it will propose a PHP4-billion worth of Quick Response Fund to ensure speedy recovery and reconstruction whenever calamity arises. (PNA)