By Merlina Hernando-Malipot and Betheena Unite
The Department of Education (DepEd) estimates that it will need over P2 billion to repair, reconstruct, and rehabilitate the school buildings damaged by the 6.6 and 6.5 magnitude earthquakes in North Cotabato last month.
Latest data from the DepEd’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Service (DRRMS) showed that the cost for reconstruction of damaged schools is estimated at P1.7 billion and P 496 million for repair and rehabilitation, totaling to about P 2.25 billion.
As of November 5, DepEd reported 837 schools suffered considerable damage, directly affecting 538, 625 students. There are also 701 totally damaged classrooms; 992 classrooms with major damage, and 3, 683 classrooms with minor damage. DepEd said that the estimated cost for the totally damaged classrooms is at P2.5 million and additional P500,000 for the partially damaged classrooms.
Meanwhile, non-infrastructure losses were suffered by 73 schools. These include 1, 603 damaged school furniture, 595 learning materials and 477 computer sets.
As this developed, damage to infrastructure left by the series of earthquakes in Mindanao reached P781.62 million, it was announced by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). This estimate included cost of damage on roads, bridges, schools and other government buildings, the department said.
After initially reporting that the damage due to the tremors were minimal and can be repaired within November, the department released data showing that a total of 28 bridges and 15 road sections were damaged in Regions 10, 11, and 12. The DPWH also said seven public buildings in Regions 10 and 11.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said the damaged roads and bridges can be repaired in a month’s time as the department has available maintenance funds to finance the repair works.
The agency said monitoring of national roads and bridges in earthquake-affected areas will continue until Nov. 9. Since the first quake occurred, a total of 61 pieces of equipment such as dumptrucks, backhoe, loader, vibratory roller, and service vehicles have been deployed in the region.
DepEd noted that it has already processed the first batch of assistance to affected learners and schools including the release of 59 units of Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) amounting to P5, 032, 700 and mobilization support funds amounting to P900,000.
The DepEd Central Office and DepEd Regions 11 and 12 conducted a field visit and meetings in North Cotabato for the mobilization of assistance to affected schools.
Meanwhile, DepEd assured that it will continue to monitor the division and schools affected by the earthquake for infrastructure and non-infrastructure damages, casualties, and other effects.
DepEd noted that field personnel have also been deployed by DepEd to assess the damages in schools due to earthquake and provided Psychological First Aid (PFA) to affected learners and personnel. It also cont continues to provide immediate assistance to affected learners to ensure learning continuity.