MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Vice President Sara Z. Duterte reassured on Monday that the national government is already dealing with the repairs of damaged schools hit by Typhoon Egay in July.
Admitting that not all school repairs will make it in time for the Aug. 29 class opening, President Marcos said the government's school-building program will continue.
"Hindi pa lahat. Kasi nung tumama yung bagyo, sabi namin anong magagawa natin sa isang buwan? So far, basta kung ano yung kaya nating gawin together with our LGUs [local government units], ginagawa lahat para maayos natin yung mga nasira (Not all [will be immediately repaired]. Because when the typhoon hit, we asked what can we do in a month. So far, whatever we can do together with our LGUs, we are doing it all to fix what was damaged)," Marcos said in an ambush interview during his visit and inspection of the ongoing "Brigada Eskwela" of Victorino Mapa High School in Manila.
Duterte assured that if the repairs will not be finished by school opening, blended learning classes will be automatically carried out.
"'Yung mga tinamaan ng bagyong Egay, sila po 'yung priority natin sa budget po natin for repairs this year. Pero kung hindi po umabot 'yung repairs nila by August 29, immediately po i-implement ng ating mga paaralan 'yung blended learning program natin dahil wala na pong learning disruption ang direksyon ng Department of Education Lagi pong (For schools that were hit by Typhoon Egay, they are the priority of our budget for repairs this year. But if the repairs will not be finished yet by August 29, our schools will immediately implement blended learning program because there will no longer be learning disruption in the direction of the Department of Education. It will always be) blended learning or in-person classes," Duterte said.
"So, tuloy-tuloy ang pag-aaral kahit merong problema sa (So, classes will continue even if there are problems in the) classroom," she added.
The DepEd reported last month that Typhoon Egay and the southwest monsoon damaged 169 public schools in the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, and Eastern Visayas.
The agency estimates that the cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation would reach PHP810 million.
Some 68 schools in the regions of Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Cordillera were also used as evacuation centers.
In a previous statement, Duterte said DepEd has allocated PHP15.6 billion for new construction of "more resilient schools and classrooms."
On the other hand, President Marcos said the national government is currently studying when is the best time to start classes, considering the extreme weather conditions.
Marcos also turned over PHP1 million worth of financial assistance with paints and other cleaning materials to support the "Brigada Eskwela" volunteer maintenance works of Victorino Mapa High School.
“Nakita na naman natin kung gaano kahalaga, lalong-lalo na dito para sa Pilipinas na lahat pati ‘yung mga magulang, ‘yung mga teacher, kung sino man mga volunteer pagdating sa ating mga anak, sa mga bata ay talagang buo ang loob natin na tumulong para gumanda naman ang kanilang experience dito sa pag-eskwela (We have seen again how important it is, especially here in the Philippines, that everyone including the parents, the teachers, volunteers, when it comes to our children, everyone's willing to help improve their experience here in school),” President Marcos said in his message during the event. (With a report from Anna Leah Gonzales/PNA)