The Department of Education (DepEd) needs P18 billion to repair, rehabilitate or reconstruct schools damaged during recent disasters or calamities that hit the country.
In a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 4, DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said that DepEd continues to monitor the damages in schools brought about by the recent typhoons and earthquake.
“P18 billion ang kailangan natin para maipagawa ang mga paaralan na ito (We need P18 billion to fix these schools),” Poa said, referring to those that that were damaged during the Abra quake last week as well as those that were destroyed during the onslaught of typhoons “Odette” and “Agaton” in December 2021 and April 2022, respectively.
Poa said that DepEd, under the leadership of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, has already requested from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. an additional P16 billion.
However, the additional budget is supposed to cover only those schools that were damaged by typhoons “Odette” and “Agaton.”
As the number of schools damaged during the Abra quake continues to increase, Poa said that DepEd is also seeking funds to repair or reconstruct these facilities. “Malaki ang epekto ng Abra quake (The impact of Abra quake is big) and our DepEd officials and field offices have been on the ground since Day 1, continuously monitoring the situation,” he said.
Citing recent data, Poa said that the number of affected schools increased and DepEd continues to look for quick interventions and options for the affected areas.
“Right now, we are already looking at an estimate cost of P2.1 billion,” Poa said, referring to the cost of damages brought about by the Abra quake.
As of Aug. 3, DepEd data showed that 646 schools are affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake that jolted Abra and nearby areas. Of this number, 21 schools are currently being used as evacuation centers.
In terms of infrastructure damages, DepEd said that there are 427 schools with damages. A total of 621 classrooms were totally damaged while 1,271 classrooms were partially damaged. DepEd noted that the estimated cost of repair and reconstruction for these is P2.188 billion.
DepEd said that other infrastructure damages such as toilets and handwashing facilities also need repairs or reconstruction.
Additional budget is also needed to address non-infrastructure damages such as school furniture, learning materials, and damaged computer sets.
“We’re hoping that our request for P16 billion would be granted,” Poa said in a mix of English and Filipino.
At the same time, Poa said that DepEd is also realigning its budget so the savings, if any, can be used to put up temporary learning spaces for students in the affected areas.
Poa said that DepEd is also seeking to increase DepEd’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) to P4 billion to be able to respond to schools that were damaged by calamities.