‘We’re in quicksand’: VP Duterte says P1.4B needed to repair quake-damaged schools
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Monday said about P1.4 billion is needed to repair the 451 classrooms destroyed by the strong earthquake that hit Abra and other areas in Luzon last week, lamenting how the Department of Education (DepEd) is in a “quicksand” due to many calamities affecting the Philippines’ education system.
Duterte said the government is still trying to repair schools destroyed by previous calamities, such as Typhoon Odette, which ravaged parts of Visayas and Mindanao last year.
“Hindi pa nga natin naayos at natapos ang destruction ng isang kalamidad, dumating na naman ang isang kalamidad,” she said in a speech in the Brigada Eskwela kick-off in Imus, Cavite.
“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 repairs we have to do from 2016,” Duterte added.
(We have not yet finished repairing the destruction of a previous calamity. Another calamity has occurred again. 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 repairs we must do from 2016.)
Duterte said that over 9,000 schools were affected by the Abra earthquake, where 451 classrooms were destroyed, and 706 others sustained damage.
Apart from the damage, the Vice President said the Philippines also faces several challenges to its educational system, including the pandemic and the anxiety from the monkeypox disease.
“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.
She, however, assured the public that the DepEd had laid down measures to prevent children from contracting COVID-19 when face-to-face classes resume, urging teachers and non-teaching personnel to vaccinate against the disease.
“We all know these problems and the other problems and challenges that the DepEd and its partners are facing a year in and year out. We are in quicksand,” Duterte said.
Duterte also expressed optimism that DepEd will “overcome” the challenges with the support of the national government under the Marcos administration.
She also added that her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, “left us with a roadmap to look into and guide our steps to ensure that our target to deliver basic education to our learners becomes a success.”
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