In Tulunan, back to school on Monday except in areas badly damaged by quakes

TULUNAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 09 Nov) – It’s back to school for elementary and high school students here on Monday, November 11, 13 days after it was suspended due to the Magnitude 6.6 quake at 9:04 a.m. on October 29 that was followed by a 6.1 an hour later and a 6.5 two days later.

But classes remain suspended in five of 32 elementary schools and one of six high schools here, Peter Ortizo, focal persons of the Local School Board (LSB) told MindaNews on Friday, under a parabolic tent near the municipal hall that serves as their temporary office while the town hall’s structural integrity is given the nod of building officials.

Ortizo said those whose classes are still suspended next week are Magbok Elementary School. Paraiso Elementary School, Daig Elementary School, New Caridad Elementary School, and Bituan Elementary School and New Caridad High School.

A man walks past the damaged building of Daig Elementary School in Barangay Daig, Tulunan town, North Cotabato following the mag 6.6 quake on October 19, 2019. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

These are the schools severely damaged, and near the epicenters of the four above-Magnitude 6 quakes: 6.3 on October 16, 6.6 and 6.1 on October 29 and 6.5 on October 31.

Temporary learning shelters will be provided to schools with classrooms that have been damaged and cannot be used.

Ortizo said they will provide GI sheets and nails but will also give parabolic tents as they did in Daig which was given four.

Ortizo said they have yet to get a clear advisory from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on whether or not these areas where the severely damaged schools located are still safe “but meantime wala pang official na declaration ang Phivolcs … we should move on and we should let our students go back to school until such time na meron silang official na advisor.”

Prior to Monday’s school opening, heads of all 39 public elementary and high schools in Tulunan and all the teachers in the severely damaged villages of Daig, Paraiso, New Caridad and Magbok, are undergoing a stress debriefing and training on Pscyhosocial First Aid on November 9 and 10 at the Tulunan National High School mini theatre.

The weekend activity is conducted by the Ateneo de Davao University’s Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services or COPERS. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)