Quake aftermath: Kidapawan school shuts down elementary department

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 15 November) – The Board of Directors of a private school here is closing its elementary department even if it is already on the third periodical grading, citing lack of facilities due to the series of powerful quakes last month.

Father Gerry Tacdoro of the Diocese of Kidapawan, President of the Kidapawan Doctors College, Inc., (KDCI), said the Board of Directors in their recent meeting had agreed to abolish its IBED (Integrated Basic Education) to allow one of its two buildings to serve as temporary rooms for patients of the Kidapawan Doctors Hospital, Inc. (KDHI) which it partly owns

The Board’s decision will affect at least 285 students and 24 teachers and staff of the KDCI’s IBED, from pre-school to Grade 11. The senior high school and college departments will continue functioning.

Parents of the affected students decried the decision as “oppressive” and “unjust.”

Tacordo acknowledged they “still have to hear the side of the parents” and that they asked them to submit a proposal. “We might consider their proposal,” said the priest.

Kidapawan Doctors College, Inc., (KDCI) in Kidapawan City. Photo courtesy of KDCI FB

The KDCI, located along Senator Ninoy Aquino Street here, houses two two-storey buildings for its IBED, Senior High School, and courses related to the medical field.

The school has an extension or annex at the Novo building located along the national highway, which accommodates its laboratory and courses like Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology.

But Tacdoro said the building incurred damage so they have to transfer the classes of these courses to the main building at Senator Ninoy Aquino Street.

One of the buildings at the KDCI is used to house the patients of the the hospital, KDHI.

The KDCI and the KDHI are owned and managed by doctors here and some priests from the diocese.

The Kidapawan Doctors Hospital, Inc. (white building) beside the destroyed Eva’s Hotel in Kidapawan City on 31 October 2019, hours after the Magnitude 6.5 quake struck, the fourth quake above Magnitude 6 in 15 days. The hospital cannot be used as yet but rooms at its sister school, Kidapawan Doctors’ College, Inc. will be used as temporary hospital rooms. MindaNews photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

Tacdoro said they still cannot use the eight-floor KDHI building located along Quezon Boulevard here because of the dangers posed by its closest neighbor, the six-storey Eva’s Hotel, whose façade and other parts of the building collapsed after the October 31 quake.

Four earthquakes above Magnitude 6 struck this city and neighboring areas between October 16 and 31: 6.3 on October 16, 6.6 and 6.1 on October 29 and 6.5 on October 31.

In a radio interview, Esther Roque, one of the parents of a KDCI grade schooler, said the board’s decision is too painful.

Roque said she attended the assembly called for by Tacdoro two days earlier which did not end well.

“It was very emotional and chaotic.   Isn’t this oppressive?  Isn’t this unjust?   Where do we transfer our children?  Only a few (schools) could accommodate our children, but not all.  That added up to the trauma of our children,” said Roque.

Roque said the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) has yet to meet and lay down plans to counter the board’s decision.

She cited the possibility of constructing temporary learning shelters inside the compound and home-based schooling to address the problem. (Malu Cadelina-Manar / MindaNews)