2,000 classrooms destroyed by typhoon not yet replaced

2,000 classrooms destroyed by typhoon not yet replaced
Pupils at a primary school in San Rafael village in Busuanga town, Palawan province.

More than 2,000 public school classrooms that were totally destroyed by Supertyphoon "Yolanda" (international name: Haiyan) a year ago have not been replaced, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

Less than 5 per cent of the destroyed classrooms have been reconstructed, while 5 per cent of more than 17,000 damaged classrooms have been fully repaired, the DepEd said in a report.

Less than 30 per cent of the more than 290,000 school furniture destroyed during the storm have been procured, but none of the 6.47 million (S$185,700) lost learning materials have been replaced, it said.

Rehabilitation spending

Reporting the status of the rehabilitation of 2,990 schools affected by Yolanda, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the DepEd aimed to complete the classroom reconstruction in time for the start of the next school year in June.

The DepEd reported that P7.77 billion has been allocated for infrastructure rehabilitation and another P776 million to procure learning materials and kits for about 1.89 million schoolchildren in 5,535 affected schools and to fund a school feeding programme for 350,000 children.

Of this, P2.91 billion was allocated for the construction of 2,313 classrooms destroyed by the typhoon, P4.63 billion for the repair of 17,335 damaged classrooms and P223 million for the procurement of 292,166 pieces of school furniture.

Building classrooms

For this year, P4.9 billion was allocated, including P2.58 billion for new classrooms and P2.24 billion for classroom repairs, the DepEd said.

As of Nov. 6, however, the DepEd reported that only 101 new classrooms have been constructed out of the 1,982 classrooms marked for construction this year.

The construction of 1,881 classrooms is going on, the DepEd said. Next year, 331 classrooms will be constructed and the budget for the project is P331 million, it said.

According to DepEd data, only 860 classrooms have been fully repaired out of the 6,597 damaged classrooms that were marked for rehabilitation this year.

Next year, P2.4 billion will be allocated for the repair of 10,711 more damaged classrooms.

According to the DepEd, only 79,245 pieces of school furniture have been procured out of the 121,950 pieces of school furniture planned for procurement this year, with a budget of P223 million.

Next year, another P128 million will be allocated to procure 170,216 pieces of school furniture.

None of the 6.47 million learning materials and 134 computer packages that were lost in the storm have been replaced, the DepEd said.

Only 1,991 learning kits have been replaced out of the nearly 340,000 learning kits lost, it said.

Pagcor help

Private companies and aid groups have pledged to shoulder part of the school rehabilitation programme.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. will fund most of the construction through its P2-billion pledge, which is good for 2,000 classrooms.

When the school year started last June, the reconstruction had not yet started.

The DepEd said the bidding process was delayed because the Department of Public Works and Highways had to redesign the classrooms to make them more disaster-resilient.

It said new design pushed up the cost by about 30 per cent, so that a one-story classroom would now cost nearly P1 million from the previous P780,000.

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