DepEd-11 seeks more tents as ‘learning spaces’ in areas affected by Pablo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Dec) – The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 11 is appealing to the public to donate tents “as many as possible” to be used as “learning spaces” of children in areas devastated by typhoon Pablo.

Jenielito “Dodong” Atillo, spokesperson of DepEd-11, said in an interview Wednesday Pablo’s devastation hit DepEd’s schools in Compostela Valley (ComVal) and Davao Oriental, leaving the school children with nothing, not even a tree, where they could hold classes.

The two provinces had a total of 85,893 school children as recorded by DepEd-11 before the calamity, Atillo said, adding that the figure could be lower in Pablo’s aftermath.

He cited that in Davao Oriental, 307 classrooms need rehabilitation and repair with an estimated amount of P87,483,000, and 769 classrooms need replacement or new construction with a total cost of P502,990,000.

The costs do not include hauling materials yet as engineers in the field are still digging more data, he added.

In ComVal, 96 damaged classrooms need rehabilitation, 300 need replacement of roofing and ceiling, and 144 need repair of roofs, partition and ceiling. All rehabilitations cost a total of P78,435,000, while hauling materials cost P60,530,000, he cited.

But the DepEd, along with humanitarian partners in the cluster for education and psychosocial intervention for Pablo victims, will not wait for classrooms to be repaired before holding classes, Atillo said.

The cluster, he added, will provide a venue for children using tents or “learning spaces” to bring back their sense of normal thinking as they suffer worse from the effects of Pablo.

He said there are 56 tents to be sent in the two affected provinces starting Thursday. Some members of the cluster will provide other needs such as chairs for the learning spaces.

Out of 56, 40 tents will arrive here on Thursday from the National Capital Region, while 16 tents already arrived here on Wednesday.

Atillo said each of the two provinces will have 20 tents from a batch of 40 tents, and the cluster has yet to decide how to distribute the other batch of 16 tents.

To be divided into two classrooms, he said a tent can house about 70 children grouped by age brackets.

It will be set up as much as possible within a school campus, otherwise it will be outside where the local government unit could provide, he added.

Psychosocial activities will be integrated in the learning sessions, which will be an “informal” mode of teaching, which according to him, aims to arrest traumatic experiences and provide a sense of normalcy and balance among children.

The tent will also be used as a venue for feeding programs, stress debriefing and medical missions, among other activities for recovery of the victims.

Big role

The teachers will play a big role in operating the “learning spaces”, Atillo said, as they are the ones to facilitate informal classes that will be in a form of shifting to accommodate all children.

He said the department has conducted three deliveries of relief goods, prioritizing the teachers, as other divisions were requested to offer any help for their co-educators in the affected areas.

The first delivery was in Boston, Davao Oriental last Dec. 8 with 111 recipients, second was in ComVal last Dec. 12 with 572 recipients, and third was in Baganga, Davao Oriental last Wednesday. (The number of recipients has yet to be counted as the relief team was still in the area as of this writing).

“Teachers have the tendency not to join queues for relief goods at evacuation centers,” he said.


DepEd-11 regional director Gloria Benigno has requested the central office to provide all buffer stocks of textbooks and teachers’ manuals for the two provinces.

The region’s buffer stocks comprise of only 4,509 pieces of assorted textbooks and 30 pieces of teachers’ manual for elementary education, and 1,853 textbooks and 30 manuals for secondary education, according to Atillo.

He said so far no donated books had been coursed through the department, noting that donated books should be in line with the learning competencies set by the DepEd.

He mentioned that alternative delivery modes will also be employed in the affected areas.

Priority schools

Schools prioritized by the DepEd-11 for psychosocial interventions are Cabuniangan Central and Andap Elementary Schools in New Bataan; Canidkid and Alimadmad Elementary Schools in Montevista; Diwalwal, Depot, Baylo, Anagasi Elementary Schools in Monkayo; Kidawa, Limot, Kaligutan, Kilagbing, Banbanon, Mangloy, Imelda, Tuk-an and Bullokan in Laac, ComVal.

In the municipality of Compostela, ComVal, prioritized schools for psychosocial interventions are Compostela Central, Valderama, Ngan, Mangagon, Diosdado Macapagal, Aurora, Osmeña, Tamia, Mapaca, Lagab and Bangongon Elementary Schools.

Schools, too

Atillo said all schools in Davao Oriental have to function regularly by January 13, 2013, while some schools in ComVal have already started holding classes since Dec. 17 except in New Bataan, where the school ground still has mud.

The DepEd-11 asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to include the schools among structures that will be cleaned up under the latter’s cash-for-work program.

The program, which began last Dec. 16, provides employment for Pablo victims who will be paid P218 a day for clearing areas destroyed by Pablo, according to Rebecca Santamaria, chief of DSWD-11 protective services unit.

She said earlier some 28,000 victims can benefit from the program. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)