By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has ordered the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to build more evacuation centers to minimize the use of classrooms so the flow of students’ education will not be disturbed.
Duterte, in his meeting with key agencies in preparation for Typhoon Ompong, agreed with Education Secretary Leonor Briones that the education of students are compromised whenever their classrooms are used as shelter for evacuees.
“We’d also like to reiterate our proposal, Mr. President, that perhaps we can minimize the use of the school buildings as evacuation centers. Because the children have to make do with temporary learning shelters which of course exposes them to greater risks,” Briones said.
Duterte, in response, ordered NDRRMC Executive Director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad to build more evacuation centers so the use of classrooms would be minimized.
“It’s about time that General Jalad thinks of this. ‘Yun talagang mga frontliners na lugar (Those areas that are at the front line): Leyte, Samar, itong Cagayan, Isabela,” Duterte said.
“Makagawa man lang tayo parang gym puro semento. Oo, parang (For us to make something like a gym built from cement, a) gym with so many perhaps 10 CRs for women and 10 [for men],” he added.
“Kailangan talaga ‘yan (We really need those). And so calamities are our way. Sunog, baha (fires, floods), fighting in some areas. Pag-isipan mo daw ‘yan (Think about it) then give me a position paper and I will work on it for the budget,” he continued.
Duterte then reiterated his concern about students having a hard time catching up with their studies whenever schools are used as evacuation centers.
He also agreed with Briones that children are exposed to greater risks when they have to make do with temporary learning shelters.
“The longer they stay in the school, the longer would be the disturbance of the education of the children,” Duterte said.
Jalad, on the other hand, said that there is already an ongoing project by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to build more evacuation centers.
“We might just have to you know, rethink the concept sir because actually there are already many evacuation centers inaugurated lately under the project of the DPWH,” Jalad said.
“At saka siguro dagdagan ‘yung budget sir kasi currently ang (And maybe we can also increase the budget because the budget of the) DPWH for that is three evacuation centers per region,” he added.
Duterte commended the development about the evacuation center project of the government.
“That’s good. That’s actually using our head. Kasi (Because) everytime that there is a crisis, automatically kasali ‘yung mga bata na walang pakialam (innocent children are affected),” he said.
“And it really causes a disturbance sa flow ng (in the flow of their) education,” he added.