SCHOOLS REHAB. Kidapawan City Mayor Jose Paolo Evangelista (center) with City Schools Division Superintendent Natividad Ocon, CESO VI (4th left), during the Local Schools Board meeting Wednesday (Aug. 10, 2022). The meeting resulted in the city government’s allotment of some PHP8.2 million for the rehabilitation of some 88 primary and secondary schools for the school opening on August 22. (Photo courtesy of Kidapawan CIO)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – The city government allotted PHP8.5 million for the rehabilitation of all school facilities here for school year 2022-2023 set to open on August 22.

Mayor Jose Paolo Evangelista said the fund is for the construction and rehabilitation of some essential facilities that were damaged by the 6.9 magnitude quake that struck the province in October 2019.

“The rehabilitation is timely as the ‘Brigada Eskwela’ was launched and this is the counterpart of the local government unit to ensure our schools are safe for learning”, he said in an interview Wednesday.

The budget will be used for the construction of Temporary Learning Shelters (TLS), repair of school buildings, acquisition of desks and chairs, repair of restrooms, improvement of school accessibility, and mounting of appropriate waste disposal for proper waste management.

The fund was taken from the special education fund of the city government, and officially approved by the Local School Board composed of members from the Committee on Education of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the Department of Education-City Schools Division (DepEd-CSD).

An engineering team composed of personnel from the Office of the City Engineer and DepEd-CSD is tasked to assess schools and identify priority areas to fast-track and deter any delays in rehabilitations.

Natividad Ocon, DepEd – CSD superintendent, said five schools were prioritized in the construction of new TLS sites after the old campuses were included in the “no build” zone.

The schools included Sayaban and Lake Agco Elementary Schools; Datu Umpan and Manib IP School; and Mt. Apo High School – all in the foothills of Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak.

Ocon lauded the initiative of the city government as their district is waiting for a budget to rebuild permanent infrastructures for the schools.

“Our budget is currently limited for learning materials of teachers as the recent budget for education was realigned for health programs in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic,” Ocon said.

Kidapawan has an estimated 48,000 enrollees this year from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in the city’s 75 public schools and some 13 private schools. (PNA)