Legarda Seeks Public-Private Sector Partnership in Making Schools Safe from DisastersApril 9, 2011
CITING STATISTICS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (DEPED), WHICH SHOWED THAT OF THE 685 SCHOOLS INSPECTED NATIONWIDE FOR SAFETY LAST YEAR, 588 WERE FOUND TO HAVE STRUCTURAL DEFECTS, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY REITERATED HER CALL FOR A STRONGER PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS TO ENSURE THAT SCHOOLS ARE SAFE FROM DISASTERS.
Legarda expressed concern on the finding that as many as 869 schools that were built many decades ago are still being used.
“It is important to make our schools disaster-resilient to keep our children, who are most vulnerable to disasters, out of harm’s way when natural hazards strike.”
“Aside from being a shelter for children, schools are critical public infrastructures, especially in times of disaster when victims need emergency refuge. Therefore, schools must be able to withstand earthquakes, typhoons and other natural hazards,” the Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change said.
Legarda also stressed that safe infrastructure contribute to the overall health of the residents of the community as it would protect them from injuries and psychological stress, which can be caused by uncertainty as to their safety when disasters occur.
“The government must fortify and enhance the structural integrity of public schools, while the private education sector should be encouraged to do the same.”
“Building the resilience of the education sector to disasters is a worthy investment. It brings the double benefit of saving lives and achieving our development goals. This fact should be appreciated by the national and local governments and the private sector who have invested much in the country’s education system and share common responsibilities in running it,” she explained.
“Safe schools are essential to ensuring that our children are safe from injuries and thus beneficial to their general health. I therefore urge communities, organizations, government agencies and businesses to work with the DepEd, make a pledge for a school to contribute resources and make them safer now to survive disasters,” Legarda concluded.