MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education is readying for the opening of schools in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan after the Christmas break and in the aftermath of typhoon Sendong, which devastated a large swatch of Northern Mindanao.
But Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro said that some schools would not hold regular classes yet and instead hold alternative education. In some schools, officials will focus more on stress debriefing and play therapy.
“We have to respond to the immediate needs of both teachers and students and for now, it is important that we introduce activities that will bring back normalcy in their lives,” the education chief said.
Luistro said that DepEd was making the final list of schools being used as evacuation centers.
“We have agreed with our counterparts in the Department of Social Welfare and Development that if our schools are still needed by evacuees we will hold classes in temporary learning spaces including the use of tents provided by UNICEF, Plan International and Save the Children, among others,” Luistro said.
“While there are shortages in tents, donations are still coming in,” he added.
DepEd has also expressed its appreciation to parents, military, police, students, non-government organizations and evacuees themselves for helping in the cleanup of schools in order to prepare them for the holding of classes.
”What we see here is an off-season Brigada Eskwela where every concerned citizen pitches in to bring back order in schools and in the community,” Luistro said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro has offered his parish for temporary relocation while the Jesuit-run Xavier University said it has five hectares in Lumbia also for relocation. For its part, the local government of Cagayan de Oro has made available another 3. 5 hectares as relocation site.
“This is a welcome development and slowly, internally-displaced residents are moving on to rebuild lives in relocation sites,” said Luistro.