By Merlina Hernando Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) urged schools affected by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake which jolted parts of Mindanao to help in the tracking and monitoring of school damages in their areas.
“DepEd needs your help,” said Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua in a Facebook post enjoining learners, teachers, school officials, and all concerned individuals to report to the department any school damages they have seen in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck North Cotabato on Wednesday night.
Pascua said that concerned netizens may tag @DepEdTayo on “photos with relevant information” or they may also use #SchoolPatrolPH for tracking and monitoring. “Please share photographs, videos, and information of damages on DepEd schools, offices and personnel,” he said. Senders are urged to include the school’s name, barangay, city/town, and province of the affected or damaged school/s.
“Please copy this note and paste in your FB Timeline together with the posted picture which you may download and repost,” Pascua said. “You may also tag your friends in North Cotabato and neighboring provinces,” he added.
Pascua noted that the said “online reporting does not, in any way, supersede the Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADaR) required to be submitted within 72 hours by concerned DepEd personnel.”
As a standard practice, DepEd orders the continuous monitoring of divisions and schools affected by disasters for infrastructure damage, casualties, and other impacts. In the aftermath of calamities, DepEd has been mobilizing efforts to rehabilitate the affected schools and to extend the necessary assistance to the families of casualties and injured learners and personnel. Stakeholders are also enjoined to help the DepEd ensure that the learners are able to continue with their education.
Aside from consolidated initial RADaR and dissemination of memorandum for the submission of RADaR, DepEd is also expected to disseminate education cluster updates and release memorandum for “thorough and immediate inspection” of school and office buildings and facilities. As soon as possible, the department also mobilizes DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) staff to monitor the status of areas of responsibilities and track the regions and divisions with class suspension.
Other initiatives of DepEd after calamities include the provision of immediate assistance such as clean-up funds, temporary learning spaces, learning materials, hygiene kits, psychological first aid, and emergency feeding to ensure learning continuity, the conduct of detailed assessment of damages for repair and reconstruction, and continuous dissemination of situation reports to affected regions and divisions.
Localized suspension of classes has been declared in parts of Mindanao following the earthquake. Classes in all levels in both public and private schools in Davao City, General Santos City, South Cotabato; Kabacan, Cotabato; Kidapawan City, Cotabato; Makilala, Cotabato; Cotabato City; Samal, Davao del Norte and Tacurong City, and Sultan Kudarat were suspended Thursday. Classes from pre-school to secondary levels in both public and private schools were also suspended in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.