NGOs beat gov’t in rebuilding Tacloban Schools
June in the Philippines means it’s back to school for many children studying in public elementary and secondary schools. But this season is doubly difficult for schools located in typhoon Yolanda-hit areas like Tacloban City because many buildings and school materials are still unrepaired.
Thankfully for schools like Sagkahan Elementary School in Tacloban, they receive help from charity non-government organisations (NGO) to prepare for the June classes — a help they have yet to receive from the government.
The Department of Education (DepEd) recently reported that at least 2,313 new classrooms are needed and 17,757 must be repaired in typhoon-ravaged areas, a rehabilitation effort that costs about Php5.3 billion. But seven months after the storm passed, DepEd has still not started bidding for the school reconstruction and repair projects.
Sagkahan Elementary School Principal Niceta Galura said ‘I was informed [last May] by our superintendent that there was a memo [that I was a recipient of the 42-classroom repair from DepEd] together with other schools in Tacloban.
However, a week after school started on 2 June, Sagkahan School still relies heavily on makeshift tents set up by NGOs like the Chinese Red Cross to conduct classes.
‘If I have to be specific with Sagkahan Elementary School, kung titingnan ko yung mga tulong na dumarating, most of the help are coming from the NGOs,’ the principal shared.
‘The Unicef repaired 12 classrooms, roofing and re-ceilings. I don’t know if it’s an NGO, but a monk repaired a classroom. Our fencing was a project of Mabuhay Global.’ Meanwhile, she said DepEd provided teacher financial assistance and the Public Works department helped in roof construction.
Principal Galura said that as students and teachers have to make do with a school that is not yet fully repaired, they’re also contending with the additional worry of accommodating late enrollees this year: ‘more are still coming.’
Schools like Sagkahan are expecting more enrollees shifting from private to public schools where costs are cheaper for the families who have lost their livelihoods after the storm.