(Eagle News) – At least 61 schools in Batangas could not hold classes until now, as several towns in the province are still reeling from the effects of the Taal Volcano eruption, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).
Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said that these schools are in the towns of Taal, Agoncillo, San Nicolas in Batangas, and other towns near the volcano.
Pascua said that the schools in these towns are still being cleaned and cleared of thick ashfall.
He said that 28 schools also continue to be used as evacuation centers.
Taal Volcano is now under alert level 2, but the areas affected by thick ashfall still have ongoing cleaning operations.
Pascua said that the cleaning operations might take a month because not only the schools and the school grounds are in need of cleaning, but the fields and roads nearby too.
“Ongoing pa rin ang cleaning operations at baka abutin pa ng isang buwan ang paglilinis, ayon sa assessment ng iba’t ibang ahensya. Kasi nga masyadong maalikabok, masyadong makapal kasi ang abo. Di lang kasi bahay ang lilinisin, pati fields, farms, mga daan. Iikot-ikot lang kasi ang abo kung hindi malilinis nang husto. So sa tingin namin, hindi pa siya habitable at hindi pa conducive para sa pag-aaral ng mga bata,” the education official explained.
-P200-M for school repairs needed-
Pascua said that 33 more schools in Batangas are still in need of repairs.
There are also 161 classrooms which need to be repaired, and four more classrooms which have to be replaced.
DepEd said that it needs an additional budget of P200 million for the school repairs, and classroom reconstruction.
The amount would already cover the repair work for schools affected by the strong quakes that rocked Mindanao last year, as well as the schools damaged by strong typhoons and floods.
(Madelyn Villar Moratillo, Eagle News Service)