By Alexander Villafania, loQal.ph
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia
PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) found structural defects in over 80 percent of schools that were inspected as part of its disaster preparedness and risk reduction efforts.
A report on the situation of the school buildings have been released by the DepEd to the media recently.
The inspection, conducted in May to April 2010, was done in 685 schools nationwide, 588 of which were found to have structural defects, which vary from damage to walls and ceilings to even instability of building foundations.
A total of 799 school buildings were inspected and 671 of these buildings had structural defects.
There are a total of 45,625 public schools nationwide, 752 of which are in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Of the number of total schools nationwide, 869 of these are identified as "Gabaldon" schools that were built prior to the 1950s. Eighty-nine elementary schools and another 11 high schools that are considered Gabaldon have been repaired.
In Metro Manila, 107 out of 418 school buildings from 86 schools were found to have structural damage.
But in a presentation, Engineer Oliver Hernandez, chief of DepEd's Physical Facilities and Schools Engineering Division said intervention programs are being put in place in some of the Manila schools to ensure that damaged buildings are retrofitted or repaired.
There are also school buildings that have been replaced with new ones.
Late last year, DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro issued a memo to inspect damaged buildings that have to be condemned from use or must be demolished due to structural damage.
He earlier stated that buildings not older than five years old are able to withstand natural disasters, including major earthquakes.
School buildings get structural damage through natural and man-made causes. In most cases, schools are used as shelters for communities affected by disasters and as such, use school facilities that are otherwise unfit for long-term communal use.
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