Rolly, Ulysses destroyed over P5.6B in DepEd facilities, materials — Briones

MANILA, Nov 13 (Mabuhay) — Two of the four tropical cyclones that ripped through the Philippines this month caused over P5 billion damage to school buildings and learning materials, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones said Friday.

“‘Yung kay Rolly pa lamang ay aabot ng P4.895 billion tapos ‘yung kay Ulysses P800 million,” Briones said during the briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

School laboratories, libraries, and gadgets were among the assets that were damaged when Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses in close succession barreled through Luzon.

Nonetheless, Briones said the initial figures she gave are still being reviewed in coordination with the NDRRMC and other related government agencies.

But Briones noted that because of the no-face-to-face-classes policy, the “physical harm” of typhoons to teachers and students had been reduced.

Due to the COVID-19 threat, the basic education sector formally opened the school year on October 5, using blended forms of learning outside the typical classroom setup.

A total of 345 schools equivalent to 1,370 classrooms are currently in use as evacuation centers for more than 8,800 families in several regions affected by Rolly and Ulysses, Briones said.

Recognizing that some school buildings serve as quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients, she said local authorities should also be cautious not to merge evacuees with patients.

“Kailangan hindi paghaluin. Kung mayroong quarantine dapat i-avoid natin na gagamitin ang same school as evacuation center,” Briones said.

According to NDRRMC executive director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, 64,500 families or 231,300 individuals were preemptively evacuated in Luzon before Ulysses hit. An additional 44,194 families or 170,500 individuals were evacuated through rescue operations, he added.  (MNS)

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