By Merllina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said that its field offices nationwide have so far received a total of 364 requests for use of schools as COVID-19 centers and for other purposes coming from 304 local government units (LGUs).
DepEd noted that “there has been an increasing trend” in the number of LGUs, number of requests received, number of approved requests, number of DepEd facilities or schools requested, and number of approved schools since April 6.
Since April 18 until to date, DepEd said that there have been additional requests from LGUs concerning the use of 92 schools as quarantine facilities and for other purposes. The updates came from Regions 6, 8, 12, 13, 3, NCR, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA.
Based on latest DepEd data, the 304 requesting LGUs comprised of seven (7) provinces (2%), 58 cities (19%), 234 municipalities (77%), and 5 barangays (2%) sent requests to DepEd field offices requesting the use of schools or DepEd facilities for COVID-19 related purposes.
Of the 364 requests, a total of 185 requests (51%) were approved and eight (8) LGU requests (2%) were denied – particularly the two (2) requests in the Metro Manila: Pasig City LGU and Navotas City LGU.
DepEd said that Pasig City LGU requested the use of 44 schools for the distribution of Food Voucher for learners while Navotas City LGU requested a school to be used as a detention facility for COVID-19 related violators. “These were disapproved by DepEd NCR in consonance to NCR RTF Resolution No. 3 recommending that schools shall solely be used as quarantine or isolation facilities and not for any other activities,” DepEd explained.
Meanwhile, DepEd noted that three requests in Zamboanga del Norte particularly from Polanco, Pinan, and Bacungan LGUs were denied by the SDO pending approval of the CO IATF proposal, as per a report submitted by Region 9 on April 7, 2020. “One request from Polomolok LGU in South Cotabato for the use of one school as billeting of PNP officers manning the nearby checkpoint was denied in light of the Department’s Safe Schools policy,” DepEd explained. Likewise, two requests in Dinagat Islands province – from San Josea and Basilisa LGUs – were also disapproved.
DepEd noted that currently, there are 140 requests (38%) pending for evaluation while three (1%) requests were withdrawn. “One is from Paranaque City LGU – the use of seven schools – was withdrawn,” DepEd said. “The LGU through the CHO will not pursue its request for the use of seven schools as quarantine and isolation facilities. They will use Paranaque City College instead,” it added.
Over the weekend, DepEd noted that Region 11 reported that the governors of Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte also “withdrew their request for use of 269 and 75 schools, respectively.”
DepEd noted that 28 (8%) requests it has received has no status indicated in the update report. Meanwhile, 231 (76%) of the LGU requests received indicated that the schools requested are to be used as “quarantine area/ isolation facility for PUMs/PUIs within the locality.”
“There are 33 requests (11%) for other purposes which include: to be used by health personnel (Regional DOH, medical staff of hospitals), halfway home of affected passengers due to implementation of lockdown at the borders, billeting of curfew violators, for storage of food/ relief goods,” DepEd explained. “There are 40 requests (13%) which did not indicate the purpose,” it added.
DepEd noted that as of April 20, a total of 1,524 DepEd facilities – mainly public schools – are requested for use by LGUs. Of this, 710 (47%) are approved, 383 (25%) are for evaluation, 48 (3%) are denied, while 351 (23%) were withdrawn. Thirty-two (2%) schools have no status indicated in the report.
Data from DepEd also showed that in Region 8, there are 31 DepEd health personnel requested by LGUs. DepEd said that as reported in the Region 12, five Division Nurses of the Cotabato Division were allowed to serve as members of the Incident Command System for COVID-19 in Midsayap, Cotabato. CAR also reported that there are a total of eight health personnel who volunteered – one each in Apayao, Baguio City, Kalinga, and Tabuk City; and four in Benguet.