August 16, 2022
MANILA — Recent flash floods that inundated parts of Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces due to continued heavy rains wiped out and destroyed classrooms worth millions of pesos that learners would no longer be able to use once classes resume during the week next.
Ditchel Annagoe, principal of Malabuwaya Elementary School in the town of Kabacan in Cotabato, said that in her school alone, at least half a million pesos worth of computers, printers, books and printed modules have been destroyed when the area was submerged by the neck. deep flood waters last week after the Pulangi River overflowed after days of heavy downpours
Public schools in Lumayong and Dilangalen villages in Kabacan town also experienced the same as these schools were located near the banks of the Pulangi River.
“The area serves as a catchment area for excess water from the river,” Annagoe said, referring to Pulangi whose sources come from as far away as Maramag town in Bukidnon province.
“Although we are used to it, the flash floods last week were the worst in the last eight years that I have served here as director,” she added.
At nearby Datu Udtog Matalam High School in Pagalungan town of Maguindanao, more than 100 computers were submerged when the area was flooded on Friday afternoon. Floodwaters also entered classrooms, damaging library books and learning modules, school officials said.
Officials from the Ministry of Education (DepEd) said that the equipment and other educational materials lost in these two schools alone already amounted to more than one million pesos. Other schools were still assessing the extent of flood damage to their facilities.
The DepEd has already launched the Brigada Eskuwela to prepare schools for the opening of classes on August 22, but parents of students in communities that suffered the worst flooding were still deep in the cleaning of their homes, which were also submerged in the water.
However, the opening of classes at schools in the Cotabato Division would push Aug. 22, said Dr. Isagani dela Cruz, superintendent of the Cotabato Division of Schools.
He said DepEd officials had coordinated with several churches and local governments to allow students in flood-affected schools to use their indoor courts and even chapels as temporary learning facilities.
“We hope to get a positive response to our request. We do it for school opening and face-to-face classes to pass,” Dela Cruz said.
He said at least 270,000 learners are expected to attend public schools across the province when in-person classes finally open after two years of online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Bicol region, heavy rains that started on Sunday evening also flooded villages in Albay and Camarines Sur provinces.
On Monday morning, some roads were not passable in Barangay Sagrada Familia, Bonbon, Bulusan, San Isidro, San Vicente and Sitio Paclas in Barangay Zone 4 due to swelling of Talisay and Marocmoc rivers in Libon town, Albay.
Ian James Secillano, head of the Libon Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), said the heavy downpours had also caused slight soil erosion in Barangay San Vicente, but roads had already been cleared. by village officials.
In the town of Balatan in Camarines Sur, the Siramag-Luluasan spillway overflowed and prevented residents and motorists from passing through the villages of Pararoa and Camangahan.
Balatan MDRRMO leader Xanthen Domenic Beñegas said there were no homes affected in the area, but more than 100 vehicles were stuck until 11 a.m. Monday.