To ensure the safety of thousands of learners and its personnel, the Department of Education (DepEd) said that classes have been suspended in 19 schools that are affected by the unrest of the Taal Volcano.
“Mga 19 na schools, nag-suspend na tayo ng classes dahil ang primary ano natin ay ang protection of the children (We have at least 19 schools that suspended classes because the primary concern is the protection of the children),” Education Secretary Leonor Briones during the briefing with President Duterte aired on Wednesday, March 30.
Located in Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas, here are the schools where classes have been suspended:
1. Bernando Ondo Memorial Elementary School
2. Agoncillo Central School
3. Pamiga Elementary School
4. Balangon Elementary School
5. Banyaga Elementary School
6. Barigon Elementary School
7. Bilibinwang Elementary School
8. Coral na Munti Elementary School
9. Mahabang Elementary School
10. Panhulan Elementary School
11. Pansipit Elementary School
12. Pook Elementary School
13. Subic Elementary School
14. Banyaga National High School
15. Coral na Munti National High School
16. Agoncillo National High School
17. Agoncillo Senior High School
18. As-Is Elementary School
19. Paliparan Elementary School
DepEd said that classes were suspended in these schools on March 26 while others declared class suspensions on March 28.
Meanwhile, DepEd data as of March 29 also showed that 7,139 learners are affected by the suspension of classes in these schools.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level over Taal Volcano to 3 following an eruption at the main crater over the weekend.
DepEd, Briones said, continues to monitor the safety of students in the affected areas through its regional and schools division offices.
As per its policy, Briones said that DepEd is strongly discouraging the use of schools as evacuation centers.
“Ang policy kasi natin originally, dini-discourage natin na ginagamit ang ating mga schools na evacuation centers kasi mae-expose yung mga bata (Our policy, originally, is that we discourage the use of schools as evacuation centers because this may expose the children),” Briones said.
However, Briones noted that in the case of Taal and other major disasters, DepEd allows the use of schools as evacuation centers under Duterte’s advice. “So mayroon din tayong mga schools ngayon na ginagawa na evacuation centers (So we now have schools that are being used as evacuation centers),” she said.
Briones explained that classes in schools located in the permanent danger zones --- as well as in areas that could be compromised if the volcano’s unrest continues --- have been suspended already.