After inspection of schools: Some classes start Monday
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon & Jessa J. Agua (The Freeman) - October 20, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Some schools are resuming classes tomorrow.

Carmelita Dulangon, Department of Education (DepEd)-7 regional director, said the cities of Naga, Carcar, Danao, Toledo and Cebu have already made the declaration after getting a certificate of safe occupancy from their respective city engineers.

“There has to be a clearance first from their municipal engineers nga safe gamiton ang mga classrooms before the mayor can declare resumption of classes,” Dulangon told The FREEMAN.

Following the inspections, the Cebu City Government said that of the 3,445 classrooms in 122 schools, the City Engineer’s Office found 531 to be unsafe and may pose danger to students and teachers if used.

Meanwhile, since there are still a lot of earthquake-related matters needing his attention, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday decided to cancel his scheduled trip to Yokohama, Japan with Cebu City and the province placed under a state of calamity.

Rama was to meet with potential investors for the planned retirement facility at the South Road Properties.

“That matter has to wait. There were people who proceeded, mostly from the private sector,” Rama said.

 Instead, City Atty. Jerone Castillo represented him in the four-day trip, which was upon the invitation of sister city Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi.

For the Mandaue City schools, Dulangon said City Schools Division Superintendent Virginia Zapanta already informed Mayor Jonas Cortes on the need for the city engineer to make sure that schools are safe upon resumption of classes tomorrow.

Dulangon said Cortes wanted to have classes start on Nov. 4 yet, but that would depend on the result of the city engineer’s inspection of the city’s schools and classrooms.

Some schools in Mandaue, like privately-ran Colegio dela Inmaculada Concepcion, will start classes on Nov. 5 yet.

Arden Monisit, Cebu Province schools division superintendent, had said that Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III instructed during their meeting that no school shall resume classes without getting a clearance from the city or municipal engineers.

Dulangon said that in cases where only some classrooms and not the entire building are found unsafe, classes should be done in non-academic rooms like the library.

In Cebu City, the unsafe classrooms are found in eight city public schools, namely: Gothong Memorial National High School (NHS), San Nicolas Elementary School (ES), Inayawan ES, Labangon ES, Camp Lapulapu ES, Luz ES, Barrio Luz NHS, and Tejero ES.

On the other hand, the Don Vicente Rama ES, Don Vicente Rama NHS, Lahug ES, Hipodromo ES, Ramon Duterte NHS, Guadalupe ES, Zapatera ES, Bulacao ES, and Bulacao NHS were noted to be lacking in emergency exits.

A team of civil engineers and representatives from the City Engineer’s Office, Local School Board, and Office of the Building Official started inspecting the city’s schools shortly after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Cebu and Bohol Tuesday morning.

City Engineer Kenneth Enriquez led the inspection team together with

City Hall consultant and structural engineer Ariel dela Cruz.  Enriquez’s office, though, has yet to release the complete structural assessment report on all edifices in the city, particularly government-owned and private buildings.

Also, the City Government is set to have a coordination meeting with DepEd and Comelec on how to proceed with the barangay elections on Oct. 28, considering that 531 classrooms, which serve as polling precincts, are no longer feasible as venue for the elections.

Rama, however, believed this would not be much of a problem since fewer people are voting compared to the elections last May.—/RHM (FREEMAN)

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