By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) will overcome various challenges that have been hampering the sector’s delivery of services.
Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, in her message before the education stakeholders and local government officials during the launching of the Brigada Eskwela in Imus, Cavite on Monday (Aug. 1) expressed her confidence the education sector can surpass challenges which include Typhoon Odette in December 2021, the registration of the country’s first Monkeypox case, and the Magnitude 7 earthquake that hit the province of Abra and other parts of Northern Luzon.
“We continue to face the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with many other unexpected challenges that hamper our daily progress for our learners — Monkeypox, baha, bagyo, earthquake — all of that will come. What is important is that we have the determination to succeed in our mission,” Duterte said.
The government has deployed interventions to the earthquake-hit areas, but an assessment from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service valued at P1.4 Billion the 451 classrooms destroyed and 706 damaged classrooms by the earthquake.
The Vice President also shared her assessment of the Typhoon Odette-stricken areas in the Visayas.
“Two weeks ago, I also visited Clarin National School of Fisheries in Bohol and saw the traces of the destruction of Typhoon Odette that ravaged the island. But Typhoon Odette also destroyed many schools not only in the Visayas but also in Mindanao,” she recalled.
The devastation from calamities, which delays and impedes educational services, poses a heavy challenge for the DepEd as it tries to transition learners from distance learning to face-to-face instructions.
“Hindi pa nga natin naayos at natapos ang destruction ng isang kalamidad, dumating na naman ang isang kalamidad (We are still coping up with the destruction from one calamity, yet, another calamity happened). And we need more than P18 Billion, excluding the P1.4 Billion of damages from the Abra earthquake, to get ourselves out of the quicksand of this year and last year. It does not include the things or the repairs that we have to do from 2016,” she explained.
“But I am confident and I am optimistic that the Department of Education will overcome — and we will overcome with the support of our national government and the administration of President Bongbong Marcos,” she added.
Duterte also acknowledged the shared commitment of various stakeholders in assuring the preparation of academic institutions for the opening of classes.
“The collaboration between the parents, the teachers, local governments, and the entire community on Brigada Eskwela opens deeper and meaningful collaborations even until after the school year closes,” she said. (ai/mtvn)