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2 MONTHS AFTER ‘YOLANDA’

No gov’t plan yet to rebuild schools

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The government has yet to construct replacements for around 100 schools destroyed by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” two months ago in Leyte and Samar provinces.

Rolando Asis, director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Eastern Visayas, on Sunday said he still had not heard from headquarters in Manila. “There are no plans yet received from the top management,” he told the Inquirer.

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Asis, however, said that more than 830 damaged school buildings were being repaired. He said completion of work would depend on the “availability of construction materials, including good lumber and GI sheets.”

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson earlier said the repair and rehabilitation of public infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and rural health centers, could be completed in one year.

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A DPWH report on its “Operation Yolanda” program, a copy of which was furnished this paper, said that in Tacloban City and Leyte I engineering districts alone, 47 and 46 school buildings, respectively, were either severely damaged or destroyed by the typhoon.

The DPWH regional office recommended their “replacement or reconstruction” but did not provide any time frame.

The damaged facilities include 15 units at Sto. Niño SPED Center, three units at Salvador Elementary School, three units at Anibong Elementary School, two units at Remedios Romualdez Elementary School, one unit at Cirilo Roy Montejo National High School, one unit at Panalaron Central School and one unit at Salvador Elementary School.

In another report, the agency said nearly 600 public schools in nine Eastern Visayas engineering districts were “waiting for construction materials” needed for the repairs.

These include 34 school buildings in Tacloban district, 30 in Leyte I, 135 in Leyte III, 127 in Leyte IV, 38 in Leyte V, 14 in Southern Leyte, 26 in Northern Samar II, 122 in Samar I and 70 in Samar II.

In a related development, contractors hired by the DPWH have put up another four bunkhouses, bringing to 126 the total number of temporary shelters completed for the typhoon survivors.

Of the initial 222 bunkhouses the government had planned to build, only 122 were completed before the Christmas break. Two of them—both in Barangay (village) Candahug in Palo town, Leyte—were turned over to occupants by President Aquino during his visit to the area on Dec. 22.

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The same contractors have resumed work on 96 temporary shelters, Asis said. “All bunkhouses are expected to be finished by the end of January,” weather conditions permitting, he said.

Additional bunkhouse projects in Eastern Visayas “would depend on available resettlement sites” to be provided by local governments, he said.

Last week, Singson announced that the agency would adjust the sizes of bunkhouses to “conform to acceptable international standards.” He said families with more than four members would be allowed to occupy two units.

Originally posted: 2:26 pm | Sunday, January 12th, 2014

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TAGS: dpwh, News, Regions, school buildings, Yolanda
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