TACLOBAN CITY, June 7– The Department of Education (DepEd) field office here is seeking PHP1 billion budget to build permanent classrooms near resettlement sites meant for thousands of children whose families moved to post-Yolanda relocation sites.

Ivannovich Agote, DepEd Tacloban disaster risk reduction and management coordinator, said they need the immediate release of funds for school buildings since the life span of temporary learning spaces (TLS) is only three years.

“Citing the number of households in the northern relocation sites, we need about 656 new classrooms for new campuses and additional 40 rooms for existing accommodating schools nearby,” Agote told PNA on Wednesday.

Earlier, the DepEd main office asked its city division office here to re-validate the proposal taking into account the actual enrolment in schools near housing sites, some 15 kilometers away from the city’s commercial district.

“Our budget request is not based on the actual registration because we expect a population increase in the future with more families moving to resettlement sites,” Agote added.

The education department also asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to immediately conduct soil test to find out if proposed sites are suitable for multi-storey buildings.

“The plan is to build up to four-storey school buildings due to limited space provided by the National Housing Authority,” he said. The government converted community spaces, parks, and playgrounds as school sites.

As a short-term solution to education needs in the northern part of the city, DepEd has been building 87 TLS through PHP5.22 million outlay from the central office.

The DepEd field office here asked the budget for TLS early of 2016, but it was just downloaded this year, according to Agote.

These TLS are made up of coconut lumber, plywood, and corrugated iron sheets. Due to shortage of walling materials, some rooms are partly exposed to sunlight. The soil floor also raises concern that it might become muddy pools during rainy days.

As of third week of May, about 8,628 families have been transferred to 14 government housing sites, according to NHA.

The government eyes about 16,000 “Yolanda”-hit families in this city settling in the northern part of the city to include recipients of housing projects built by non-government organizations.(Sarwell Q. Meniano/PNA)