By: Lizbeth Ann Abella
TACLOBAN CITY –The Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered school officials to conduct a thorough inspection of the school buildings in Eastern Visayas after the 6.5-magnitude Eastern Samar earthquake to ensure the safety of learners.
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua issued the directive on Wednesday for the conduct of inspections on school buildings and facilities, and submit Rapid Assessment of Damages Reports. Teachers and learners are not allowed to enter any school building unless the facility is certified as safe for entry by experts.
All engineers, architects, and disaster risk reduction management coordinators are instructed to lend support to all concerned schools in to determine the structural integrity and safety of buildings within the 250-kilometer radius from San Julian, Eastern Samar, the epicenter of the quake on Tuesday.
“Key education officials in all affected areas are requested to immediately cascade this instruction to the school level for immediate implementation starting 5 p.m. on April 24,” said DepEd Regional Director Ramir Uytico in an interview Wednesday.
“Only when the structural integrity and safety of the building and facilities are assured can the learners, teachers, and personnel be allowed to enter the same,” Uytico added.
The magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocked Eastern Samar 1:37 p.m. on Tuesday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
The tectonic quake, with a depth of 17 kilometers, struck 19 kilometers northwest of the coastal town of San Julian, which is located 163 kilometers northeast of this city. f