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SCHOOLS OCCUPIED BY EVACUEES

Still no classes in quake-affected areas in Cotabato

/ 05:00 AM November 28, 2019

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato, Philippines — Classes have not resumed in 11 schools of Makilala town, Cotabato, weeks after a series of tremors rocked central Mindanao.

Schools in the villages of Buhay, Bato, Cabilao, Malungon, Luayon, Malasila and Bulacanon were still occupied by evacuees who could not return to their houses because parts of their villages had been declared “no-build zones.”

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Municipal administrator Sheryl Orbita said classes for senior high school at the Makilala Institute of Science and Technology were still suspended since this continued to be used as evacuation center.

The Department of Education was still finalizing the conduct of makeup classes for the students, Cotabato Schools Division Superintendent Omar Obas said.

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If at all, classes were being held in tents and temporary learning shelters in other areas while school buildings and classrooms were being repaired, he said.

Makilala had been hit hard by the tremors that forced residents to flee.

Mayor Joseph Evangelista earlier said he would ensure that the school buildings were safe before he would allow students to go back to their classrooms.

Apart from commercial buildings, school buildings suffered damage from the series of quakes that rocked Cotabato province and surrounding areas in Mindanao last month.

Early summer vacation

“There are also many school buildings that were damaged but I don’t classify that as urgent emergency because I can move the school calendar,” Evangelista said, referring to the proposal to move the classes to January next year and extend the school calendar up to summer.

“Just let them have an early summer vacation,” he added.

It was also the same solution adopted by schools in Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur, where school buildings were badly damaged by the earthquakes.

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In Digos City, the number of evacuation centers has dropped from 34 to 25 in the immediate aftermath of the quakes.

The evacuation centers now shelter some 9,000 people, down from 12,000.

In Kidapawan, about 1,000 families have been relocated back to their communities as their houses have been assessed to be only partially damaged.

The local government has set aside as much as P10,000 financial assistance to help the residents rebuild their houses.—WITH REPORTS FROM ELDIE AGUIRRE, GERMELINA LACORTE AND RYAN ROSAURO, INQUIRER MINDANAO

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TAGS: Earthquake, Makilala town Cotabato, no classes
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