By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday proposed to make screened doors and windows mandatory for public schools to help prevent children from getting infected with dengue virus.
Recto raised this suggestion as he noted the rising cases of dengue in the country that mostly affected schoolchildren.
Citing data from the Department of Health (DOH), Recto said children form a large part of the dengue victims recorded in the first half of the year.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, in declaring a nationwide dengue alert on Monday, said 106,630 dengue cases have already been reported from January 1 to June 29, 2019, an obvious spike from the 57,564 cases reported over the same period last year.
One of the solutions, according to the Senate leader, is to include screened windows and doors the specifications of public classrooms that will be built by the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Kung ayaw nating madapuan ng lamok ang ating mga anak sa bahay, dapat ganoon din sa mga paaralan (If we don’t want mosquitoes to touch our children at home, the same precaution should be applied to schools),” Recto said.
He said his proposal was not a new idea, as the DOH had planned to install chemically-treated screens in thousands of classrooms in 2015.
“Doon sa classrooms na walang screens, ang maaaring gawin is we budget for their purchase and let it be installed by school stakeholders, bayanihan style. Ang importante ay maikabit,” he suggested.
Recto said there are 27 million students going to about 47,000 public schools in the country.
To cope with the annual increase in enrolment, DepEd needs 10,000 new classrooms.
This will be on top of the existing backlog of 64,668 classrooms that must be wiped out to achieve the ideal pupil-to-room ratio, Recto noted.
The DepEd maintains 757,006 rooms nationwide, 687,757 of which are instructional classrooms while 69,249 are for administrative use and support services like canteens and clinics.