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Public schools ensuring buildings are safe in earthquakes – Palace

FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO

LIKE their counterparts in the private sector, the 46,624 public elementary and high schools nationwide, including those on top of the West Valley Fault in Metro Manila and Rizal province, are doing their part to comply with the government’s safety standards for infrastructure, according to Malacañang.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday the Department of Education has been closely coordinating with local government units and other concerned agencies, like the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, or NDRRMC in “ensuring the safety of educational facilities, as well as homes that may be adversely affected in the event of an earthquake.”

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Speaking during the weekly “Pilipinas, Pilipinas” public affairs program over the state-run Radyo ng Bayan, he reported that “schools located in the West Valley Fault area have been identified.”

“These schools are continually being inspected by the authorities to ensure the safety of students and teachers using the facilities,” he said, responding to a question from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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On Monday (June 1), the Pedro Diaz High School in Muntinlupa City is “scheduled for inspection to check the facility’s structural integrity, among others,” according to Coloma.

Public schools in Eastern Visayas areas that were devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in November 2013 have also been undergoing checks to “make sure the buildings are ready” for the scheduled opening of classes on June 1, said Coloma, also the head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, or PCOO.

At the same time, he announced that around 23 million students would return to public schools all over the country on Monday.  “The DepEd is closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police to provide security in both public and private schools nationwide,” he said.

In Metro Manila, some 800 traffic personnel of the Metro Manila Development Authority will assist the PNP in “ensuring order in the streets of the metropolis.”

BACKTSTORY: PNP gears up for June 1 school opening

There are more than 770 public elementary and high schools in the National Capital Region, with nearly two million students enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year.

The Department of Trade and Industry will “continually monitor the prices of school supplies and make sure the same are safe.”

Coloma said Monday’s opening of classes “will also signal the start of the formal implementation of the K-to-12 program,” which he called “one of the pillars of the Aquino administration’s reforms in the education sector.”

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Quoting President Aquino, he said with the program, “Sinisiguro nating may sapat na dunong at kakayahan ang ating mga kabataan kapag nagtapos sila ng high school upang mas maging produktibong bahagi ng lipunan.” (We are ensuring that our youth will have enough intelligence, skills, knowledge and abilities when they finish high school so they can become productive members of society.)

“Sinabi rin ng Pangulo na ang pagtutok sa edukasyon ang isa sa pinakamabilis at kailangan na paraan upang maisakatuparan ang pagkamit ng inclusive growth o kaunlarang naaabot ng nakakarami.” (The President has also said that focusing on education is one of the fastest and necessary ways to realize inclusive growth or progress felt by many.)

The PCOO chief noted that in the current administration, the DepEd has been attending to the needs of public schools.

“In 2012, the government managed to provide 61.7 million textbooks and 2.5 million chairs needed by these schools. Last year, up to 33,607 additional classrooms were put up with 31,278 more classrooms to be constructed shortly,” he added. SFM/ABC

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Building Code, classrooms, Department of Education, Earthquake, Education, executive department, Herminio Coloma, Infrastructure, Malacañang, News, Office of the President, Philippine president, public schools, safety standards, Textbooks, West Valley Fault
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