DepEd 11 to coordinate with MGB on secure areas for school buildings

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 Sept) – To make sure that the buildings yet to be constructed by the Department of Education (DepEd) and those by private schools are in a safe location, the regional office of the Department of Education in Region 11 will now require a certification from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

Susana Teresa BEstigoy, DepEd 11 regional director, said at a press conference Wednesday that the department will coordinate with MGB to identify schools that are not safely situated based on a geo-hazard map.

She said the DepEd 11 is also requesting for a geo-hazard map from MGB for every province in the region to be used as guide in constructing school buildings.

“We welcome the statement of the good director of DepEd. We in the MGB will always extend our technical assistance to DepEd if only to assure the safety of our school children,” MGB 11 regional director Ed Arreza told MindaNews in a text message.

“We cannot afford to waste another school building. We wasted how many classrooms,” she said, noting that a kindergarten classroom of a private school is included in the highly risky areas in Pantukan, Compostela Valley.

She said that she only learned Tuesday that five classrooms of San Felipe Elementary School in Barangay Tabayon, Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur, were recently drifted by flashflood.

Reynaldo B. Mellorida, Davao del Sur school superintendent who attended the press conference, said that two weeks ago, a flashflood washed away three classrooms constructed by DepEd, and two makeshift ones constructed by the local government.

The makeshift classrooms, he continued, were made of bamboo, and that only one building with three classrooms has survived the calamity.

He said the barangay and municipal government units established a temporary shelter in a safer location for students to continue their classes while waiting for the construction of a new building.

“Most likely, the proposed building will not be constructed in the same area, although it was first time for the area to be hit by flashflood,” he said.

Estigoy cited that only this year, Garinan Elementary School, which was situated at the coastal area in Tagum City, was entirely relocated as it had been gradually engulfed by seawater.

She recalled the abandonment of Panganason Elementary School in Pantukan hit by landslide this year. The school has been reconstructed in a safer ground through Gawad Kalinga project, she added.

Estigoy mentioned that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will manage the construction of new DepEd’s school buildings by 2013.

She said while DepEd is still in-charge of the repair and rehabilitation of school buildings, there is a strong move to entirely pass on the duty to DPWH so that DepEd’s administration can focus on classroom instructions. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)