The Department of Education (DepEd) Division of Catanduanes this week conducted the public bidding of several clustered projects covering the repair and rehabilitation of 1,256 classrooms in 131 elementary and high schools with an approved total budget of P700 million.
Congressman Hector Sanchez himself visited the division office last Thursday, July 1, 2021 to discuss with DepEd officials and engineers the need to ensure that the school buildings in the province would be made stronger and more resilient against super typhoons.
In the meeting with Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Susan Collano, ASDS Ma. Luisa dela Rosa, and Division Engineer Rodger Matienzo, the congressman went over the budget for the rehabilitation of school buildings devastated by Typhoon Rolly, as well as the lists of schools to be repaired.
He suggested that the rehab of multipurpose buildings should have a budget of not less that P7M each in order to be typhoon-resilient.
Another possibility, Sanchez added, is to modify the multipurpose buildings so it can double as evacuation centers, complete with walls on all sides, separate male and female comfort rooms, kitchen and wash stands to comply with minimum health protocols once face-to-face learning is allowed.
Savings from the budget should go to the construction of additional facilities, he said.
The following day, the congressman went back to the division office to check the program of works as he reportedly wanted to make sure the quality of the construction would be followed.
“Hindi lang rehab kundi modification,” Sanchez declared, adding that the DepEd should create a Quality Inspection Team to ensure that all things go well.
Engr. Matienzo assured that all classrooms will be repaired with the timetable set at 240 days.
However, he expressed concern on the availability of supply of good lumber and long-span GI sheets.
Last Monday, the Bids & Awards Committee headed by chairman and assistant schools division supervisor Dr. Ma. Luisa dela Rosa opened the bids for three clusters of projects worth a total of P104 million funded under the CY 2021 Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEEF).
The allocation covers the repair and rehab of typhoon-damaged schools in Baras (9 classrooms), Bato (39 classrooms), Gigmoto (40 classrooms), Virac (47 classrooms), San Miguel (17 classrooms) and, San Andres (41 classrooms), for a total of 193 classrooms.
On the other hand, 16 clusters of similar projects funded with P595.9 million charged to DepEd’s 2021 Quick Response Fund (QRF) were scheduled to be bid out on July 6 and 7.
The projects involve 28 classrooms in Bagamanoc, 24 classrooms in Pandan, 29 classrooms in Caramoran, 176 classrooms in San Andres, 386 classrooms in Virac, 64 classrooms in Bato, 125 classrooms in Baras, 45 classrooms in Gigmoto, 18 classrooms in Panganiban, 45 classrooms in Viga, and 123 classrooms in San Miguel, for a total of 1,063 classrooms.
This is short of the 1,523 classrooms which were either destroyed or sustained major damage during super typhoon Rolly and typhoon Ulysses late last year.
According to Engr. Matienzo, who is in-charge of DepEd education facilities, those needing major repair are school buildings with half of their roofing needing replacement, the cost of which cannot be accommodated by each school’s Maintenance & Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) funding.
The division engineering team which prepared the QRF budget reportedly included in the list even classrooms which was not damaged but needed repair anyway, so that the next minor repair work would be done only after five years.
The QRF allocation being utilized for this week’s bidding, Matienzo clarified, is not intended for those damaged by Rolly.
He said that the release of the rehab funds was quicker this year because DepEd was able to get back its QRF allocation. Previously, all funding for typhoon rehab passed through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the approval of which took a while due to voluminuous requirements.
The DepEd engineer revealed that they revised the design of the repair and rehabilitation after the central office issued new repair parameters for 2021, including the use of long-span GI roofing sheets and steel trusses to make the school buildings typhoon-resilient.
The steel truss is welded to the reinforced concrete column aside from being secured with bolts while the required thickness of the GI roofing has been increased to 0.5 mm instead of the previous 0.4 mm, Matienzo said.
As to the proposed slab roofing design, he pointed out that that could not be done as almost all existing classrooms are 50 years old and their columns could not withstand the weight of the concrete slab.
The DepEd official bared that the repair and rehabilitation of 287 classrooms in 70 schools remain unfunded, with most of them those damaged by Rolly in San Andres, San Miguel and Bato but the department is optimistic that the funds will be released by September this year.
In Virac, he said, most of the remaining classrooms will be repaired by the schools from their MOOE funds and allocations from the Local School Board fund.