WV needs 16,000 more classrooms

By John Noel E. Herrera

The Department of Education (DepEd) in Western Visayas needs 16, 494 new classrooms even as school year 2022-2023 kicks off on Aug 22.

This is based on data from the regional engineer and the Basic Education Learning Continuity and Recovery Plan (BELCRP) of different schools’ division offices in the region.

DepEd-6 spokesperson Hernani Escullar Jr. said schools affected by past calamities need additional classrooms.

“There are divisions that do not need new classrooms. Most of those in need are those that were affected or damaged by past typhoons and calamities. Our affected divisions are in coordination with the regional office and government agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction,” Escullar said.

Negros Occidental needs 9,333 classrooms, while Capiz needs 5,073; followed by Antique (737), Aklan (508) Bacolod City (462), and Iloilo province (381).

Aside from additional classrooms, 14,464 learning spaces needed major repairs, while 13,941 needed minor repairs, and 811 for replacement or reconstruction.

According to Escullar, spaces needing replacement or reconstruction were considered no longer safe for learners.

He added that “those needing major and minor repairs can still be used and some could have been addressed already through the Brigada Eskwela that started on Aug 1, 2022.”

In preparation for the opening of classes, Escullar also shared that the education department in the region established the Oplan Balik Eskwela Help Desk that would investigate and act on some concerns.

DepEd also recently reported that the agency needed around P18 billion for the repair, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of all the schools damaged during recent calamities or disasters in the country.

In Western Visayas, typhoon Odette destroyed 206,729 learning materials and 166 public schools which needed P1.1 billion for their rehabilitation.

The department’s Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADAR) during that time also indicated that 380 classrooms were totally damaged and 397 were partially damaged.

Tropical Depression Agathon also damaged around P600,000 worth of learning materials in Western Visayas with 185 classrooms destroyed.