Prior to the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit the province of Surigao del Norte, Education Leonor Briones has met with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials to reconstitute the joint Technical Working Group (TWG) on the Basic Education Facilities.
This is to target the prompt execution of school buildings construction under the 2017 budget of the Department. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) provides the roles and responsibilities of DepEd and DPWH in the implementation of School Building Project (SBP). It also discusses the technical and financial system to be followed in the implementation.
On Friday, February 10, the quake jolted Surigao, causing damage in the following schools: CARAGA Regional Science High School, JR Clavero Elementary School, Ipil Elementary School, Mariano Espina Memorial Central Elementary School, Surigao City Elementary School, Suklayang Elementary School, Mat-I Elementary School, Cabrera Altres Senior High School, and the DepEd Division Office.
The Education chief, along with Undersecretary for Administrative Services Alain Del Pascua, joined President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet members in inspecting the destruction and encouraging the disaster-stricken Surigaonons to be strong in the face of this challenge.
The DepEd and the DPWH also agreed to design new school buildings based on the latest National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP) 2010 and on the Minimum Performance Standard Specifications (MPSS) to make the structures physically resilient.
Accordingly, the buildings are designed to withstand strong winds and major earthquakes. The structural component of the building such as footing, columns, and beams are made bigger.
Briones recommends the construction of school buildings that can withstand wind velocity at 350 kph after the heavy destruction on classrooms brought about by typhoons “Nina” and “Lawin” that hit Cagayan Valley and Bicol Region.
Both agencies are working on the finalization of the new school building design, which they target to implement this year.
The DepEd reported that between 2010 and 2016, a total of 118,686 classrooms were constructed and 66,463 are ongoing. This year, the Department has allotted P65.4 billion to build 47,492 classrooms including 10,000 classrooms for procurement.
The total budget of DepEd for 2017 is P109 billion to cover the construction of classrooms for K to 12, technical vocational workshop laboratories, and replacement of old and dilapidated classrooms.
Secretary Briones vowed to the quake survivors that the Department will speedily implement the Department’s programs and projects, particularly on school physical facilities.