BARMM building flood-resilient schools
COTABATO CITY – A ranking official of the education ministry in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said the regional government will be building flood-resilient schools for students whose classes and learning are regularly disrupted by natural calamity.
Education Minister Mohaqher Iqbal said the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the learning process of Bangsamoro learners.
“Aside from the pandemic, we are also facing flood problems that submerged many public schools in Maguindanao,” Iqbal said. Aside from Maguindanao schools, public school buildings in most of the 63 villages that joined the expanded BARMM, have been suffering from floods for years and decades.
He said the education ministry is looking for immediate solutions to this perennial problem to avoid accidents during floods and reduce the disruption of school operations in flood-prone areas.
Maguindanao has more than 500 public schools and about half of that are in 18 towns surrounding the Maguindanao marshland that regularly overflow whenever heavy downpour occurs upstream, especially in Bukidnon, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.
“For a long-term consideration, we are designing school buildings that are resilient to flooding,” Iqbal told the Bangsamoro Information Office. However, he did not provide designs or blueprint of the flood-resilient schools.
Iqbal said there are school buildings that need reconstruction and repair, particularly in most affected areas such as schools in Cotabato City and the BARMM Special Geographic Area (SGA) in Cotabato province.
“We experience floods repeatedly and it affected our school grounds and school buildings, we are addressing it,” Iqbal said. In Maguindanao, recent floods swamped 18 out of the province’s 36 towns.
As Maguindanao schools resumed face-to-face setup, Iqbal said there were some schools that are no longer being used to keep everyone safe.
He said school administrators and teachers found alternative ways to provide venues to teach the learners in support of their mission that says, “no Bangsamoro child shall be left behind” in education.
Iqbal also said his office will soon distribute financial aid to public schools across the region as they prepare for full face-to-face classes in November.
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