TACLOBAN CITY, Oct. 4 (PNA) -– The national government has downloaded PHP66 million for the construction of the first batch of state-funded classrooms for the northern relocation sites intended for children of families affected by super typhoon Yolanda.

The 45 classrooms, according to the Department of Education (DepEd), will be housed in a three-storey building within the soon to rise RidgeView Park Integrated School in Cabalawan village, this city.

“The DepEd central office has already downloaded PHP66 million to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of 45 permanent classrooms in Ridge View Park. This funding is inclusive of the soil testing and exploration,” said Ivannovich Agote, DepEd Tacloban disaster risk reduction and management coordinator.

The DepEd main office has also allocated funds for the procurement of 1,350 armchairs and 30 sets of teacher’s tables and chairs.

“It’s in the work now and we are hopeful that actual construction will start in the fourth quarter of 2016 and will be substantially completed before the opening of new school year in 2017,” Agote added.

DepEd city schools division superintendents Thelma Quitalig said the government is rushing the construction of classrooms to facilitate the immediate transfer of families from temporary shelters and danger zones.

“The strategy is to build all permanent schools in 2017 to avoid recurring need for temporary learning spaces throughout 2018.

The education department needs 215 temporary learning spaces (TLS) for thousands of learners, whose families were moved to the city’s northern relocation sites.

Quitalig said it would cost PHP16.47 million for 32 TLS this year and 183 more structures will be completed in 2017.

The provisional classrooms are intended for 1,440 learners this academic year and 8,235 students in the next school year.

In the long term, DepEd needs PHP768.93 million outlay to build 558 permanent classrooms for thousands of children, whose families were moved to the city’s northern relocation sites.

At least 10 new campuses will rise near resettlement sites, for an estimated 25,110 learners from families previously living in danger zones. Currently, there are only four existing schools near the vicinity of relocation sites.

The city government aims to transfer 16,281 families from danger zones in coastal communities to Tacloban northern relocation sites. The timeline is until 2018. As of this month, only 2,000 families have been transferred to their new homes. (PNA)