A way of life: Flooding in public schools

Schools usually have systems in place in case of floods. In the case of San Antonio Village Elementary School, the coordinator monitors the situation outside the school during heavy rainfall and he reports to the principal. The principal has the authority to suspend classes, even before the announcements of DepEd and the city mayor. If the suspension happens after all the students are already inside the premises of the school and there’s a flood outside, the kids are kept inside the school until parents arrive. If floods have not subsided, barangay authorities lend motorized vehicles, called kuliglig, or their two speedboats to help transport the students, parents, and teachers to higher ground.

Barangay San Antonio owns 3 motorized vehicles called kuliglig (shown above) and two speedboats that the school sometimes uses to transport students and teachers during floods.

Barangay San Antonio owns 3 motorized vehicles called kuliglig (shown above) and two speedboats that the school sometimes uses to transport students and teachers during floods.

Schools also submit a strategic plan for disaster risk reduction and management to DepEd annually. In the case of long-term solutions to flooding, Dulay said that elevating the roads may not be a practical solution. “Hindi naman kasi practical yung sasabihin mong papataasan lang. Kung papataasin mo kasi yung kalsada, saan pupunta yung baha? Ang pinaka-maganda diyan, ayusin ang drainage palabas,” he said.

(It's not practical to just elevate roads. If roads are elevated, where does the flood go? The best way is to repair the drainage going out.)

The rains will keep coming

Schools have to contend with floods on a regular basis, it is their job to keep small children safe and to protect their learning from potential negative impacts of having school days canceled. Long-term solutions are largely not within their control, because solutions to flooding in an area should be informed by responsible and competent land use and urban planning, which is a function of local governments. It must surely be a priority for these local governments to have long-term plans in place to protect our children from hazards presented by their environment. – Rappler.com

This analysis was supported by a research grant from the UP EIDR Grant C06-013. The authors thank DepEd for providing the data. The analyses contained and views expressed are of the authors alone and do not reflect the views of DepEd or UP.

Jenna Mae Atun is a lecturer at the Department of Communication at the Ateneo de Manila University where she teaches communication research. She is also pursuing a masters in Development Economics at the UP School of Economics.

Clarissa C. David is a Professor at the UP College of Mass Communication and a fellow of Social Weather Stations Inc. She is also the 2015 Outstanding Young Scientist awardee for social science.