P597 million in damage to Cagayan schools neglected a year after Lawin

CAGAYAN, Philippines – One year after Super Typhoon Lawin struck the province of Cagayan, some schools are still experiencing the difficulties left by the typhoon, which was dubbed as the strongest to hit the province in recent years.

Laizel Dangatan, a college instructor of Cagayan State University-Piat Campus, shared their college’s struggle as their education building was destroyed by Lawin.

Their college’s building is still standing, but the Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH) advised the school administration to no longer use as it is already “delicate.”

“We experience a difficulty in holding our classes. This is because we really lack classrooms. Though we use alternative rooms, it is still not enough to suffice our needs,” Dangatan said, adding they “borrow” classrooms from other college departments.

Dangatan also said some classrooms also leak whenever it rains, making it “more difficult for us.”

They were also having difficulty in holding school activities. The school gymnasium was totally wrecked as a result of the super typhoon.

‘No released funds yet’

Data obtained from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Cagayan Valley showed Dangatan’s school, CSU-Piat campus, had incurred the most damages among state universities and colleges (SUCs) and even the private universities.

CSU-Piat reported P54,570,000 in damages. It was followed by CSU-Carig campus with P44,157,410.

OCD Cagayan Valley regional information officer Francis Joseph Reyes told Rappler the request for rehabilitation funds for the two schools have already been sent to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).

If approved, the schools will receive P82,761,167.66 in funding.

Earlier, Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said the provincial government is still following up on the funds meant for school building repairs.

In a Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council meeting, Mamba said the coordinating council “has not yet given any of the funds at this time, except for [constructing] temporary school buildings.”

The total cost of damaged classrooms of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Cagayan is pegged at P408,770,000 million for the 1,282 damaged classrooms.

About P189 million in damages to classrooms of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in Cagayan was also recorded.

Rappler on Monday, October 16, requested an interview with DepEd regional director Estela Cariño, but has yet to receive a response.

Meanwhile, Mamba also said Cagayan has “not fully recovered” as the provincial government is still gradually giving galvanized iron sheets to affected families.

He also noted that emergency shelter assistance has also yet to be fully given.

More than 14,000 damaged houses were each entitled P30,000. Mamba said only P5,000 of the assistance have been given while the remaining P25,000 is still ongoing. – Rappler.com