Bureaucracy may delay rehab, construction of classrooms

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 June) – Bureaucracy might delay the rehabilitation and construction of six classrooms of two elementary schools in the city, according to the spokesperson of the Department of Education in Region XI.

In an interview during Monday’s Kapehan sa SM media forum, DepEd spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said the fire-hit classrooms from JP Rizal Elementary School in Suazo Street and Daniel Perez Elementary school have been prioritized for rehabilitation but will have to go through an arduous bidding process.

Three classrooms from the JP Rizal Elementary School were razed down in a fire last May 3 due to faulty electrical wiring, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection

The BFP investigation revealed that the fire started from the ceiling of one classroom and immediately spread to two others.

The classrooms were being used as a temporary supply storage area for evacuation efforts by the City Social Services and Development Office. The elementary school was being used as one of the evacuation areas of affected residents from the April 4 fire that wiped out 8 out of 12 hectares of two barangays.

Sacks of rice and other food and non-food items were among the damaged goods.

A similar fire hit the Daniel Perez Elementary School last May 25 during a Brigada Eskwela activity.

Total estimated damage for the school, according to Atillo, was P2.8 million.

The JP Rizal fire damage reached P3 million, according to the BFP.

Last Sunday, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said he was willing to help DepEd in case it asks for assistance but was just waiting for official communication.

“We have always appreciated the help we are getting from the city government,” Atillo said, citing in particular the augmentation of teachers provided by the city’s local school board.

For the JP Rizal fire, Duterte had said in an earlier statement that the city government was compelled to help with the rehabilitation since it was during the classrooms’ usage as evacuation center when these were burned down.

For now, the teachers and principals will have to make arrangements to go for either a shifting schedule to augment the shortages for both schools, or finding alternative classrooms.

According to data from DepEd, the city is projected to need 403 classrooms for elementary and 615 classrooms for high school in 2014.

For the previous school year, the city needed 370 additional classrooms for its elementary schools and 550 additional classrooms for its public high schools, a request that Atillo said was addressed by the DepEd.

Regional XI data indicate the total projected classroom needs for the school year from the different DepEd divisions was 4,743 classrooms.