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Legarda Wants More Disaster-Resilient Classrooms

June 4, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to build more disaster-resilient classrooms to minimize the risks posed by natural hazards to schoolchildren.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted a DepEd report showing that at least 257 public elementary and high schools in Central Luzon alone are at high risk to floods, while many schools in the Cordillera region are vulnerable to landslides.

“Being the second home of our children, schools should be made safe from various dangers including the threat of disasters. It is important for the DepEd to determine the disaster risks in areas where schools are built and make these buildings disaster-proof like the Dampalit Elementary School in Malabon, which was reconstructed to become flood-proof,” she said.

The DepEd had the school building at the Dampalit Elementary School reconstructed to be elevated from the ground by five meters, thus making it high enough to be safe from flooding. If proven effective, the said school building shall be the prototype in the construction of other flood-proof schools.

Legarda urged the DepEd to continue the assessment of risks in all schools nationwide and to make sure that they are able to adapt to the threats of disasters, stressing that she will ensure the appropriation of funds for the said purpose when Congress deliberates on the 2014 National Government Budget.

“It is important to make our schools disaster-resilient to keep our children out of harm’s way when natural hazards strike. We must also ensure that schools in high-risk areas have disaster preparedness and contingency plans so that students will survive and continue their schooling in the aftermath of disasters. Government efforts must be strengthened to ensure that the vulnerability of children to intensifying disasters is fully determined and adequately addressed,” Legarda concluded.